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All you need to know about Norman
Did you know about Norman:
TV and film star James Garner grew up in Norman while country music superstar Toby Keith and Olympic gold medalists Nadia Comaneci and Bart Conner make their home in Norman now.
Cincinnati Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor is a Norman native, graduating from Norman High School. NBA All-Star Trae Young graduated from Norman North High School and grew up practicing at the Cleveland County YMCA. He and his family made a multi-million-dollar donation to the Young Family Athletic Center, a public/private partnership on the multipurpose athletic facility to be located in the University North Park development.
Academy Award winning actor Ed Harris, who has voiced the introductory video for the Sooner home football games in the past, was once a University of Oklahoma drama student.
The prop from the movie, “Twister,” Dorothy, is housed at the National Weather Center, which also is the home of the National Severe Storms Laboratory, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and National Weather Service.
The original name of the school in 1890 was Norman Territorial University, later changed to the University of Oklahoma after statehood in 1907.
Did you know about campus:
Frank Lloyd Wright visited the campus and termed the architectural style “Cherokee Gothic” because of the combination Native American and European influences.
In 1932, the state legislature appropriated $500,000 to build the Bizzell Memorial Library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art houses the largest collection of Impressionist paintings at a public university and contains works of art by Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Edgar Degas and Georgia O’Keeffe. Admission to the museum is complimentary thanks to a donation made by the University of Oklahoma Athletics Department.
The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History specializes in the history of the people and animals that have inhabited Oklahoma for the last 300 million years. In 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama awarded the museum with the prestigious Institute of Museum and Library Service medal.
The first OU president, David Ross Boyd, partnered with a tree nursery to entice Norman residents to plant trees around the campus perimeter to fill the prairie. The tree-lined historical residential area is a product of that initiative.
While in Norman, you must:
Visit the Switzer Center (201 W. Lindsey St.) and Heisman Park (across from Memorial Stadium on Jenkins Avenue). Open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Switzer Center houses the Oklahoma Sooner football team's seven national championships, 12 Big XII conference championship and seven Heisman trophies along with trophies from the Rose, Sugar, Orange, Cotton and Fiesta Bowls, conference championship rings, Joe Washington's silver shoes and other collectibles. Admission is free and entrance is at the south end of the Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium. Parking is available in the Asp Ave. parking garage.
Six of the Sooners who have won the Heisman Trophy have statues along Jenkins Avenue across from the east side of the stadium: Billy Vessels, Steve Owens, Billy Sims, Jason White, Sam Bradford and Baker Mayfield. The statue of Kyler Murray has not yet been added.
Check out the James Garner Statue (“Maverick” and “Rockford Files” on TV and theatrical releases including “The Notebook,” “Victor/Victoria” and “Murphy’s Romance”) in Downtown Norman on James Garner Avenue and Main Street and see the nearby Sooner Theatre, where Garner watched movies in his youth.
Read the OU football scoreboards (schedules with results) dating back to 1947 at The Mont, and try a Sooner Swirl with chips and queso dip as you peruse them. The Mont is located at the corner of Boyd Street and Classen Ave., just past the railroad tracks.
Eat some chili or enjoy a pancake breakfast at The Diner, 213 E. Main Street, which was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” and "Great American Diner Revival" series.
Stroll Campus Corner (located across from OU’s North Oval, from Boyd Street to White Street and University Blvd. to Asp Avenue) to see the Boomer Theater landmark sign along with shops, restaurants and bars.
VisitNorman exists to promote the city, to attract overnight meeting, convention, sport and tourism business to the community, and to enhance and contribute to the overall identity and economic wellbeing of the city. VisitNorman’s vision is to be the leader who proactively markets and develops Norman as the preferred destination in Oklahoma.