Moore is a city in Cleveland County, Oklahoma, United States, and is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The population was 62,793 at the 2020 census, making Moore the seventh-largest city in the state of Oklahoma.
Located between Oklahoma City and Norman, the city has been the site of several devastating tornadoes, with those occurring in 1999 and 2013 receiving international attention.
The Moore post office was established May 27, 1889, during the Land Run of 1889 and was named for Al Moore, an Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway employee. According to the town history he was a “conductor or a brakeman, lived in a boxcar at the camp and had difficulty receiving his mail. He painted his name – “Moore” – on a board and nailed it on the boxcar. When a postmaster was appointed, he continued to call the settlement Moore. When the town incorporated in 1893 the name was legalized.”
The city’s history notes that the community before the post office may have been called “Verbeck” by the railroad. However, other histories indicate that Verbeck was actually the original name of the nearby telegraph station “Oklahoma” which became the basis for the founding of Oklahoma City.
The community remained small until 1961, when it annexed 21.6 square miles (56 km2), becoming a full-fledged city in 1962, which in turn increased its population from 1,221 in 1960 to 18,761 in 1970 and 55,081 in 2010. Moore’s 1961 annexation kept it an independent city at a time when Oklahoma City through annexations increased its size from 25 square miles (65 km2) to 643 square miles (1,670 km2) surrounding Moore on three sides (north, east, west). Norman forms its southern border.
In 1966 the Hillsdale Free Will Baptist College, after moving through various locations around Oklahoma, opened in the community.
The Moore post office turned into a branch of the Oklahoma City post office on January 7, 1972.
In the 1970s the city launched a “Smile America” campaign in which giant red, white and blue smileys were painted on the town water towers. A smiley also adorns the city’s official logo (as does a water tower). Some of the water towers now have a sign that says, “Moore – Home of Toby Keith.”
On September 24, 2014, at the local Vaughan Foods food processing plant, one employee was beheaded with a knife and another coworker had her throat slit and was injured, but survived. The alleged attacker, 30-year-old Alton Nolen, who was on suspension from the plant prior to the attack due to interactions with the employee who survived the attack, was shot and wounded by company owner Mark Vaughan. Nolen was convicted of murder and assault in October 2017. A jury recommended that he receive the death penalty, and, on December 15, 2017, a judge sentenced Nolen to death by lethal injection.
What to See and Do
The City of Moore has funded the construction of a memorial to honor America’s veterans and their families. The city renamed JD Estates Park to Veterans Memorial Park, and a memorial was constructed at the park entrance.
The main feature of the memorial is a 15-foot (4.6 m) black granite obelisk that has the inscription, “May this hallowed ground honor the sacrifice of America’s finest veterans, civilians, and their families- past, present, and future. We will never forget.” Another major feature of the memorial are five black granite tablets with the seal of the five branches of the American armed forces. At the center of the memorial is a flag plaza with a 30-foot (9.1 m) pole for the American flag and two 25-foot (7.6 m) poles for the Oklahoma flag and the POW/MIA flag. The flag plaza is surrounded by a polished concrete walking area with a stained five-pointed star stretching the entire width and height of the walking area.
A committee was formed to plan the second phase of the Moore Veterans Memorial. A campaign to sell bricks to be placed in the memorial was completed in early 2009. Over 190 bricks were purchased by supporters from the community and surrounding areas. The bricks were placed in the Memorial Wall and Phase II was completed in May 2009.
The Soldiers’ Memorial was dedicated on May 15, 2010. It consists of four carved wooden soldiers representing the four major wars since the end of World War I. They include World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Afghanistan/Iraq War.
After being destroyed by the May 2013 tornado, the park won the title of “America’s Favorite Park” in an online competition sponsored by Coca-Cola, beating out numerous other parks from around the country. First prize was a $100,000 grant, which was combined with other funds to cover the estimated $200,000 in rebuilding expenses. The first steps toward rebuilding began in November 2013, during a groundbreaking ceremony and the awarding of the grant to Mayor Glenn Lewis. The park’s playgrounds are now open to the public.
As of the census of 2000, there were 41,138 people, 14,848 households, and 11,566 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,892.8 people per square mile (730.9/km2). There were 15,801 housing units at an average density of 727.0 per square mile (280.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.63% White, 2.92% Black, 4.14% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.75% from other races, and 4.89% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.10% of the population.
There were 14,848 households, out of which 41.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.4% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.13.
The city population age spread was 29.4% under 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, .5% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $43,409, and the median income for a family was $47,773. Males had a median income of $33,394 versus $24,753 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,689. About 6.3% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.6% of those under age 18 and 4.4% of those age 65 or over.