Cleora, Oklahoma

Coordinates: 36°34′25″N 94°56′53″W / 36.57361°N 94.94806°W / 36.57361; -94.94806
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Cleora, Oklahoma
Location of Cleora, Oklahoma
Location of Cleora, Oklahoma
Coordinates: 36°34′25″N 94°56′53″W / 36.57361°N 94.94806°W / 36.57361; -94.94806[1]
CountryUnited States
 • Total12.17 sq mi (31.53 km2)
 • Land11.85 sq mi (30.70 km2)
 • Water0.32 sq mi (0.83 km2)
Elevation791 ft (241 m)
 • Total1,220
 • Density102.94/sq mi (39.75/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
FIPS code40-15250[3]
GNIS feature ID2407633[1]

Cleora is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Delaware County, Oklahoma, United States, along State Highway 85. The population was 1,463 at the 2010 census,[4] up from the figure of 1,113 recorded in 2000. The Cleora Post Office existed from November 28, 1900, until October 15, 1954. Cleora was established in District 2 of the old Indian Territory. It was named for Cleora Ann Lunday, sister of the postmaster, Ed Lunday.


Few dates are available to detail how the community developed. Settlement began circa 1890, before Oklahoma became a state, and was part of the Cherokee Nation of Indian Territory. The main occupation was farming. The rich soil produced wheat, corn and oats. However, the unnamed community was far from any larger settlements. The local residents had to travel to either Afton or Vinita to either shop or get their mail. Local resident, Ed Lunday, soon built a general store, and was then persuaded by the other residents to apply for a post office. He needed to name the post office before submitting his application, and decided to name it for one of his six sisters. [a] The Cleora post office was established in Lunday's store on November 28, 1900. A school, two churches (Methodist and Christian) and some houses had been built before 1904, when a tornado destroyed the Christian church.[5]

The Kansas, Oklahoma and Gulf Railway (KO&G) built its main line through Cleora in 1910, apparently bringing prosperity in its wake. Sunday's general store moved into a larger building and Bob Aldrich opened a hardware store. Other businesses were a two-story hotel, lumber company, grain elevator and livery stable.[5]

In 1928, residents decided to consolidate the three small school districts of Old Cleota, New Cleota and Walnut Hill.[5]

When planning began for the Pensacola Dam and the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees, it was learned that much of the older sites would be inundated by the project. Although some residents moved to higher ground, many others simply moved away.[5]


Cleora is located in northwestern Delaware County on the northwest side of the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. It is 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Bernice, 10 miles (16 km) south of Afton, and 14 miles (23 km) southeast of Vinita.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 12.2 square miles (31.5 km2), of which 11.9 square miles (30.7 km2) is land and 0.31 square miles (0.8 km2), or 2.64%, is water.[4]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 1,113 people, 518 households, and 386 families residing in the community. The population density was 92.3 inhabitants per square mile (35.6/km2). There were 1,326 housing units at an average density of 110.0 per square mile (42.5/km2). The racial makeup of the community was 86.25% White, 0.09% African American, 11.05% Native American, 0.09% from other races, and 2.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.45% of the population.

There were 518 households, out of which 16.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.8% were married couples living together, 3.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 21.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.15 and the average family size was 2.44.

The population age was spread out, with 14.7% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 16.3% from 25 to 44, 38.1% from 45 to 64, and 26.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 54 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.

The median income for a household in the community was $35,368, and the median income for a family was $42,411. Males had a median income of $37,411 versus $26,184 for females. The per capita income for the community was $29,245. About 8.0% of families and 9.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.


  1. ^ The Lunday sisters were named Rebecca, Flora, Lula, Rosie, Cleora and Maud. Their names were put in a hat and one name was drawn. Cleora was the winner.[5]


  1. ^ a b c U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Cleora, Oklahoma
  2. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Cleora CDP, Oklahoma". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e "History of Cleora." Rootsweb. Undated. Archived 2017-12-17 at the Wayback Machine Accessed December 15, 2017.
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • Shirk, George H. Oklahoma Place Names; University of Oklahoma Press; Norman, Oklahoma; 1987: ISBN 0-8061-2028-2.