About Us


The Cleveland American is a community newspaper that has served the Cleveland, Oklahoma area since 1919!

The American isn’t the first newspaper, however, to report the news of eastern Pawnee County. Predecessors were: The Jordan Valley Journal (1894), The Cleveland Bee (1895-1897), The Cleveland Triangle (1899-1908), The Cleveland Enterprise (1905-1918) and The Cleveland Leader (1910-1919).

The American has been published by the Ferguson family since 1931, and the family has literally seen the advancement in publishing technology go from “quill to computer!” The American’s publishing methods have gone from wood type and hot metal to the earliest computers that transferred punched Teletype tape to film and the advancement of offset printing to Apple’s first pint-size desktop Macs to today’s mutli-gig desktop publishing systems that are part of the digital revolution.

Jo O. Ferguson, originally in partnership with Bob Breeden, turned the paper over to his son, Larry R. Ferguson in 1962. When Larry was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives in 1985, he turned the keys over to his son, L. Rustin “Rusty” Ferguson, who continues to operate the paper today. Rusty has four children and expects one of his three sons will want to continue the family tradition of providing their hometown a newspaper that not only reports the news, but promotes Cleveland as a good choice to live and conduct business. The Cleveland American is a member of the Oklahoma Press Association and the National Newspaper Association.
The American is consistently judged as one of the top weekly newspaper in Oklahoma through OPA’s Better Newspaper Contest, most recently taking first place in the divisions of News Content, Advertising, Sports and Layout & Design. Prizes were also won in feature writing, news writing, personal columns and photography.

“I think our annual high rankings in the Better Newspaper Contest attests to the fact that we consistently try our best to deliver a quality product to our readers,” said publisher Rusty Ferguson.


Within minutes of the noontime gunshots startling the settlement of the Cherokee Outlet on Sept. 16, 1893, tent cities emerged throughout the “Cherokee Strip”. The settlement of Cleveland was no different, as a “rag city” emerged in a cornfield on the banks of the Arkansas river about 15 miles northwest of the confluence of the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers. The tent dwellers were greeted by Col. J.W. Jordan, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, who held a commission as special agent for the Cherokees, was a Deputy U.S. Marshal and a scount under the War Department. Col. Jordan was one of 70 families who received an 80-acre allotment by paying $112 apiece. Within a few months after the opening of the Strip, Col. Jordan, along with Dr. G.W. Sutton and R.l. Dunlap, laid out the original townsite of Cleveland. The three formed the Jordan Valley Townsite Company, taking in 16 members at $100 each.  Establishing the townsite was not so simple as it may have seemed.  Before the Jordan valley township Company had an opportunity to complete its plans, Willis H. Herbert, who owned 80 acres in Section 8, planned a townsite called Herbert and secured a post office.. All was not well with the town of Herbert, however. Two other homesteaders alo offered titles to the townsite. A government official in the postal department in Washington came to Herbert and found that it had been misrepresented and denied the post office. In the meantime meetings were held by the Jordan Valley Township Company and the name of Cleveland was chosen for the enw town, so named for the President of the United States at the time — Grover Cleveland.  By the fall of 1894, citizens voted to make Cleveland a city in the county of Pawnee, Oklahoma Territory. The discovery of oil on July 2, 1904 changed Cleveland from a small frontier town to a bustling oil boom city  almost overnight. Within three months of the bringing in of the No. 1 Lowery, a 50-barrel gusher and the first commercial well in the Indian Territory area, the city’s population had swelled to an estimatd 8,000 and people were living in tents, shacks, rooming houses and just about anywhere they could find.

For more information on Cleveland go to www.chamberofcleveland.com


It was oil that changed the landscape of Cleveland in the pioneer days, but it was the construction of the Keystone Dam and the development of Lake Keystone in the early 1960s that once gave Cleveland the catch phrasae of “Flagship City of Lake Keystone.” Keystone Lake’s blue-green water and the natural beauty of its setting -- wooded shoreline, sandy beaches, high bluffs, grasslands, and low rolling hills -- make it a visual treat the year round. The lake meanders into small valleys, creating many arms and land fingers. A network of county, state, Federal highways invites sightseers into many points overlooking the lake.

The lake is on the Arkansas River between Cleveland and Tulsa.  This 26,000 acre flood control lake is truly an urban playground. There are 16 recreation areas, boat ramps, sandy beaches, marinas, off-road vehicle areas,  short distance trails, a waterfowl refuge,  seasonal green tree reservoirs, and thousands of acres of land open to public hunting.  Camping facilities range from primitive to full hook up. Cabins are available at Keystone State Park. Boat rentals are available through Keyport Marina and Pier 51. Services and supplies are available at commercial concessions on the lake.  For more, go to www.touroklahoma.com.
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