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Norman is the largest city in and the county seat of Cleveland Countymarker in the U.S. state of Oklahomamarker, and is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Norman is located approximately 20 miles south of downtown Oklahoma Citymarker and is the third largest city in the state behind Tulsa and Oklahoma City. As of 2006, the city was estimated to have 102,827 full-time residents. It is the business and employment center of Cleveland County.


Bizzell Library, University of Oklahoma
Norman is home to the University of Oklahomamarker, the largest university in the state with approximately 30,000 students enrolled. The campus in Norman is a center for scientific and technological research, having contributed over $277 million to such programs in 2009 alone. Norman also enjoys many cultural attractions that are funded by the university, such as the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural Historymarker, and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Artmarker. In 2000 the Fred Jones Museum made national and international news when it was given the Weitzenhoffer Collection, the largest collection of French Impressionist art ever given to an American University. The collection includes works by Mary Cassatt, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro.

Significant housing developments around town include the recent addition of many student-oriented apartment complexes east of the university, as well as the more suburban and affluent Brookhaven to the west. Popular retail sites include Campus Corner, University North Park, and Brookhaven Villages.

Norman enjoys many tree-lined landscapes thanks in part to its participation in ReLeaf Norman and the Tree City USA programs. To the east of Norman lies Lake Thunderbirdmarker, consisting of some 6,000-acres of lake and forests.

In 2008, Money Magazine ranked Norman as the 6th best place to live in the United States, the highest of any city in Oklahoma. Norman also made the 2009 "11 Great Places You've (Maybe) Never Heard Of" list in Mother Earth News.


National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma.
Norman is a prominent center of meteorological research, specifically severe weather. The National Weather Center, located on OU's Research Campus near State Highway 9 and Jenkins Avenue, houses several NOAA organizations, including the Storm Prediction Center and the National Severe Storms Laboratory, along with the University's weather-related units including the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences and the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms. Private sector meteorological companies are located alongside the 2006 facility at "Partners Place".


Norman is located at (35.221617, -97.418236) .

The city has a total area of , of which is land and or 6.60% is water. Approximately are developed.

Elevation at the Max Westheimer Airportmarker is above mean sea level. The lowest point within city limits is the Little River, a tributary of the Canadian River, just after it exits the Lake Thunderbird Dam.

The terrain in the undeveloped western parts of Norman is prairie and the eastern section, including the area surrounding Lake Thunderbirdmarker, is cross timbersmarker forest.


As of the census of 2000, there were 95,694 people, 38,834 households, and 22,562 families residing in the city. The population density was 540.6 people per square mile (208.7/km²). There were 41,547 housing units at an average density of 234.7/sq mi (90.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 82.36% White, 4.26% African American, 4.45% Native American, 3.49% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 4.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.89% of the population.

There were 38,834 households out of which 27.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 9.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 30.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 21.2% under the age of 18, 21.4% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 9.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females there were 101.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,713, and the median income for a family was $51,189. Males had a median income of $35,896 versus $26,394 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,630. About 7.8% of families and 15.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 5.7% of those age 65 or over.

Abner Norman statue outside City Hall.


In 1870, the United States Land Office contracted with a professional engineer to survey much of Oklahoma territory. Abner E. Norman, a young surveyor, became chairman and leader of the central survey area in Indian Territory. The surveyor’s crew burned the words “NORMAN’S CAMP” into an elm tree near a watering hole to taunt their younger supervisor. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway planned Norman as a station site in Indian Territory in 1886-87. The town itself, while platted by the railroad, wasn't settled until the Great Land Run of 1889. When the “SOONERS” (those who headed west before the official Land Run date of April 22, 1889) and the other settlers arrived in the heart of Oklahoma, they kept the name “NORMAN.”

By nightfall on April 22, 1889, Norman probably had several hundred residents, camped in tents and covered wagons on town lots that wouldn't remain vacant for long. Almost overnight, the settlement developed into a thriving town. It was near Norman, in 1895, that Doolin Gang members George "Bittercreek" Newcomb and Charlie Pierce were killed by the "Dunn Brothers", who were bounty hunters from Ingalls, Oklahomamarker.

Through the middle of the 20th century, Norman was a sundown town, from which African Americans were systematically excluded from living. The city is also the original hometown of actor James Garner. On April 21, 2006, a ten-foot bronze statue of Garner as his 1957 television character Bret Maverick was unveiled near the center of town, with Garner present at the ceremony.


Norman is the nation's center for the study of severe weather and is home of the National Storm Prediction Center, National Severe Storms Laboratory, the National Weather Center (a cooperative between the University of Oklahoma and the National Weather Service), and is the proposed location of a future National Weather Museum. Because of this strong foundation in weather research, Norman is now home to many weather-related private businesses including Weathernews Americas, Inc., Vieux and Associates, Inc., Weather Decision Technologies, WeatherBank, Inc., and Computational Geosciences, Inc. In addition, the state's center of geology-related study, the Oklahoma Geological Survey, is located in Norman.

High-tech business is not limited to the weather-related in Norman. A recent promising addition to the local business landscape is SouthWest NanoTechnologies (SWeNT). SWeNT is a producer of single-walled carbon nanotubes, which are tiny hollow cylinders of carbon that exhibit extraordinary properties. Applications include new thermal-optical coatings on aircraft, bullet-proof armor, lighter and more efficient wind turbine blades, touch-screen coatings, solar cells, next-generation flat-panel displays, and non-invasive cancer treatments. With so many of these possible markets involving green technology, perhaps it is no coincidence that Norman is home to the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council.

In addition to the above, the local business community boasts many major employers, such as: York International/Johnson Controls, Hitachi, Astellas Pharma, Albon Engineering, Xyant Technology, Office Max's National Sales Center, Sitel (formerly ClientLogic), the USPS National Center for Employee Development, Sysco Foods, AT&T, and several research companies and smaller firms that take advantage of Norman's business climate.

The nation's fourth-largest retail site, University North Park, is currently under construction in Norman along the I-35 corridor between Robinson Street and Tecumseh Road. When completed the project will feature a two mile stretch of parks, offices, and high-end retail. Recently completed projects include anchor tenants such as Super Target, Petco, Kohl's, Office Depot, and a ten story Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center.

Community events



Norman is served locally by Max Westheimer Airportmarker, a general aviation airport run by the University of Oklahoma. Major commercial air transportation is available at Will Rogers World Airportmarker in Oklahoma Citymarker, approximately 20 miles north of Norman.

Public Transit

Cleveland Area Rapid Transit provides bus service to the Norman area on weekdays with some routes also running on Saturdays. A route also runs to Oklahoma City and connects with OKC's Metro Transit. The service is operated by the University of Oklahoma and is free to faculty, staff, and students. The regular fare for all other riders is 50 cents.


Norman's Depotmarker is served by Amtrak's Heartland Flyer providing daily round trip service to downtown Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas.


Norman is served by several major roadways.


Colleges and universities

Career and Technical Education

Public primary and secondary schools

Private primary and secondary schools

  • Community Christian School - kindergarten through 12th grade
  • Robinson Street Christian School - kindergarten through 12th grade
  • Blue Eagle Christian Academy - kindergarten through 11th grade
  • All Saints Catholic School - pre-kindergarten through 8th grade
  • Norman Christian Academy - pre-kindergarten through 7th grade
  • Trinity Lutheran School - pre-kindergarten through 6th grade
  • Veritas Classical Christian Academy - pre-kindergarten through 10th grade

Miscellaneous Schools

  • Hollywood Cosmetology Center

Notable residents and natives


Candy Clark, Darryl Cox,James Garner (a statue of Garner as Bret Maverick was unveiled in Norman on April 21, 2006, with Garner present at the ceremony),Alice Ghostley,Milena Govich,Christian Kane,Doris Eaton Travis,Ed Harris

Musicians and bands

Jesse Ed Davis,Chainsaw Kittens,Vince Gill,Toby Keith,Wayne Coyne,Yolanda Kondonassis,Starlight Mints,Evangelicals,Matthew Fletcher


Donny Vomit


Dean Blevins,Dominic Cervi,Sherri Coale,Nadia Comaneci,Bart Conner,Tommie Harris,Cedric Jones,Jimmy McNatt,Steve Owens,Adrian Peterson,Jim Ross,Bob Stoops,Barry Switzer,Zac Taylor,Ron Tripp,J. C. Watts,Jason White,Roy Williams,Steve Williams,Mickey TettletonJackie Shipp


Martin Gardner, Harold Keith


Carl Albert,David L. Boren,Jack Mildren,J. C. Watts


Karl Guthe Jansky

David Deming


Kayne GillaspieSherri HillRobert Bardell Ridner

Sister cities

See also


  1. City of Norman's Website
  2. Norman, Oklahoma page from James W. Loewen's Sundown Towns webpage
  3. Oklahoma Department of Commerce
  4. Oklahoma Geological Survey
  5. Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council
  6. Norman Chamber of Commerce
  7. University of Oklahoma School of Drama (PDF)
  8. Ed Harris Biography at Tiscali. Retrieved on May 14, 2008
  9. Page 602 of " Interview with Martin Gardner" Notices of the AMS 6(52):602-611 June/July 2005.

External links

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