The flat landscapes of Clinton mean lingering sunsets and a feeling of freedom. Long considered “the hub” of local communities before getting to the suburbs of Oklahoma City or Yukon, Clinton sits on Route 66 and is a tourist spot as well as a friendly community.
Wandering the Mother Road brings you straight to the city, nestled in a large valley and surrounded by the seemingly endless prairie. With about 10,000 residents, Clinton is one the largest Route 66 stops found between Oklahoma City and Amarillo, Texas.
With a rich history, including a long-defunct Best Western that hosted Elvis Presley back in the day, Clinton continues to thrive.
While short on big box stores – the loss of K-mart still smarts for many in the area – Clinton’s Acme Brick Park is a major draw, and Sunshine Farm and Nursery is brimming with posies and plant lovers.
Cheyenne Cultural Center features Native American art and history. There’s a ballet troupe, an indoor water park and Yippee Ay-O-K Winery, which specializes in wine from Oklahoma grapes. Globally headquartered in Clinton, automotive manufacturer SportChassis makes customized tow rigs. As the State of Oklahoma’s official showcase of Route 66, and operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Route 66 Museum draws visitors from the world over.
Tourists and locals alike are found at Cherokee Trading Post and Boot Outlet, also located right on the Mother Road. Owned by Wesley Vercellotti, the trading post is partnered with Vercellotti’s cousin – the original owner who founded it in 1967 – keeping it in the family. James Vercellotti helps his father run the place.
“I’m amazed at the range of places people come from, like Australia, China – literally all over the world – stop here in Clinton,” says James. “I live right off Main Street with my fiancé, and we like the flat lands around here, as it feels free and open. This is a friendly, small town kind of place and when you drive around, you get the friendly wave.”
Native Clintonite Joe Castro also works at the trading post.
“I found my wife, a Missourian, here in Clinton 20 years ago out on the walking track,” he says. “This is a great place to raise a family.”
Castro, too, gets tickled at the sheer variety of visitors through the trading post.
“All kinds of people are coming through, and some have never seen a bison in real life or a sunset like ours,” he says. “It’s mostly flat around here and the trading post is on a hill, so you can’t miss the sun setting. There’s been some changes for the better; our education system is better. I’m proud my daughter is a Clintonite.
“Clinton ain’t much, but it’s something – home to the Clinton Red Tornadoes and good people who love our football. I never thought I’d come back, but here I am, and I’m blessed to be here.”