So many Claremonts, so little time…
Two years ago, I received an email from a concerned citizen asking why the local Country Depot in Claremont stopped selling beer.
I was confused, since to my knowledge there isn’t a “Country Depot” in Claremont. After doing some quick Googling, I realized the person who emailed me was from a different Claremont—a small and rural neighborhood in southern Ontario, Canada northeast of Toronto.
On a lark, I looked up the Country Depot’s phone number and gave them a ring. The store’s owner told me he had to stop selling beer because he needed to reapply for a special local permit.
Another case closed, albeit one in a different country.
In fact, there used to be a local paper in North Carolina that was also called the Claremont Courier, which only added to the confusion. When someone with a distinct accent called about issues or businesses in Catawba County, we had to gently remind them that they got the wrong coast.
Claremont, North Carolina is a small town of about 1,400 people 43 miles outside of Charlotte. Jason Brown, the city manager, said his town is facing a number of issues that may ring familiar to his California counterparts—including water and sewer issues, a need for residential and affordable housing and keeping a qualified workforce in town.
Claremont has a large industrial park in town, causing the city to boom in population to about 8,000 people, Mr. Brown said, which brings in small-town challenges such as traffic and infrastructure needs.
Mr. Brown noted he gets calls from Claremont, California residents “quite often.” Those calls run the gamut from complaining about police response times to water issues.
One story he told involved a lady who called and spoke to him for “about 10 minutes,” telling him how great the city was, how nice city staff was and how fortunate she was to live there.
“And at one point in the conversation, I realized she wasn’t calling the right Claremont,” Mr. Brown said.
Claremont, New Hampshire is a town of over 13,000 people in the southwest part of the Granite State that is adorned with handsome old brick buildings along the banks of the Sugar River.
It also boasts itself as the namesake for the City of Trees, as well as Claremont, Minnesota (population 548) and Claremont Township, Minnesota (population 468).
The late Judy Wright, former Claremont mayor and authority on the city’s history, mentions this in her book Claremont: A Pictorial History as among “several legends or stories” of how Claremont got its name.
Ms. Wright’s book features a letter from Henry Palmer, a main player in the development of Claremont, who wrote to Frank Wheeler in 1907 that he had submitted a number of Spanish names as possible monikers for the new town to the Pacific Land Improvement Company, with “Claremont” the only English name in the group.
“But Claremont was seized upon by one of the officials as a compliance with my suggestion—also stating he had lived in or near Claremont, New Hampshire—and so the name was given in his honor,” Mr. Palmer wrote.
Ed Morris, the current city manager for Claremont, New Hampshire, said the town was a booming textile and mill town for years after it was founded in 1762. Now, the city is focusing on rebuilding the old mill section of town, bringing in mixed-use developments and revitalizing their downtown area.
He said his assistant recently told him that every now and then, someone from a different Claremont would call his office and ask about where a particular road is.
“And she’ll say, ‘We don’t have that road,’ and she’ll look down and realize that it’s a California area code,” Mr. Morris said.
There are also multiple Claremonts all over the world. Claremont, Tasmania in Australia is home to a Claremont College (only one, as far as we can tell). Another Aussie Claremont, a suburb of Perth, has several roundabouts that are presumably very popular.
Claremont, near Cape Town, South Africa, also has a Claremont High School with rugby, cricket and netball teams. Maybe the Wolfpack can learn a thing or two about netball from their South African counterparts.
In all, there are eleven Claremonts across the United States, three Claremonts in the United Kingdom, three Claremonts in Australia (Western, Tasmania and ) and one Claremont in Jamaica. There’s a Claremont neighborhood in Berkeley and a Clairemont (note the spelling) neighborhood in San Diego as well.
COURIER editor Kathryn Dunn receives tips and news releases pretty frequently from Claremonts across the country. One particularly funny exchange was from a resident of Claremont, Western Australia (population 8,100) who insisted that the lengthy news brief—along with several photographs—about the city’s team taking the first-place trophy in the regional bowling tournament deserved special attention in the paper.
Claremont, Tasmania (population 7,750), according to visithobartaustralia.com, is less than 10 miles from Hobart, a city of about 200,000 people.
It takes its name from local settler Henry Bilton, who in the 1830s built Claremont House, which was named after one of the royal homes of England. At that time in Claremont, there were only a few houses and farms. Claremont has grown, and is now home to the Cadbury chocolate factory.
Mr. Morris said he recently spent an evening at his New Hampshire home searching for all the different Claremonts around the world.
“And I said, ‘Huh, we need to travel and see what they’re all like,’” he said.