Commodore was founded in 1919 by the Clearfield Bituminous Coal Corporation, a subsidiary of the New York Central Railroad. It was named in honor of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, founder of that railroad. (Vanderbilt was known by the nickname or unofficial rank of Commodore due to his background as a riverboat owner.)
The town was created as a "model town," with a higher caliber of worker housing than other coal mining communities. Houses were constructed of concrete block, not wood. Also, the houses had toilets and the community had a sewer system, which were unusual in comparison to neighboring mining communities.
Streets were named after executives of the coal company.