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Norman, Oklahoma
City
Campus corner.jpg
Flag of Norman, Oklahoma
Flag
Nickname(s): City of Festivals
Motto: "Building an Inclusive Community"
Location of Norman in Cleveland County and Oklahoma
Location of Norman in Cleveland County and Oklahoma
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Cleveland
Area
 • City 189.4 sq mi (490.6 km2)
 • Land 178.8 sq mi (463.0 km2)
 • Water 10.7 sq mi (27.6 km2)
Elevation 1,171 ft (357 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 110,925
 • Estimate (2015) 120,284
 • Rank U.S.: 225th
 • Density 661.1/sq mi (255.3/km2)
 • Urban 103,898 (U.S.: 296th)
 • Metro 1,319,677 (U.S.: 42nd)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 73019, 73026, 73069, 73070, 73071, 73072
Area code(s) 405
FIPS code 40-52500
GNIS feature ID 1095903
Website www.ci.norman.ok.us

Norman /ˈnɔːrmən/ is a city in the U.S. state of Oklahoma 20 miles (30 km) south of downtown Oklahoma City in its metropolitan area. The population was 110,925 at the 2010 census. Norman's estimated population of 120,284 in 2015 makes it the third-largest city in Oklahoma, and the city serves as the county seat of Cleveland County.

Norman was settled during the Land Run of 1889, which opened the former Unassigned Lands of Indian Territory to American pioneer settlement. The city was named in honor of Abner Norman, the area's initial land surveyor, and was formally incorporated on May 13, 1891. Economically the city has prominent higher education and related research industries, as it is the home to the University of Oklahoma, the largest university in the state, with approximately 30,000 students enrolled. The university is well known for its sporting events by teams under the banner of the nickname "Sooners," with over 80,000 people routinely attending football games. The university is home to several museums, including the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, which contains the largest collection of French Impressionist art ever given to an American university, as well as the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

The National Weather Center, located in Norman, houses a unique collection of university, state, federal, and private sector organizations that work together to improve the understanding of events related to the Earth's atmosphere. Norman lies within Tornado Alley, a geographic region where tornadic activity is particularly frequent and intense. The Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including Norman, is the most tornado-prone area in the world. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC), a branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is located at the NWC. SPC forecasts severe storm and tornado outbreaks nationwide. Additionally, research is conducted at the co-located National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), which includes field research and operates various experimental weather radars.

In 2008 CNN's Money Magazine ranked Norman as the sixth best small city within the United States in which to live.

History

The Oklahoma region became part of the United States with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. Prior to the American Civil War the United States government began relocating the Five Civilized Tribes – the five Native American tribes that the United States officially recognized via treaty – to Oklahoma. Treaties of 1832 and 1833 assigned the area known today as Norman to the Creek Nation.

Following the Civil War, the Creeks were accused of aiding the Confederacy and as a result they ceded the region back to the United States in 1866. In the early 1870s, the federal government undertook a survey of these unassigned lands. Abner Ernest Norman, a 23-year-old surveyor from Kentucky, was hired to oversee part of this project. Norman's work crew set up camp near what is today the corner of Classen and Lindsey streets; it was there that the men, perhaps jokingly, carved a sign on an elm tree that read "Norman's Camp," in honor of their young boss. In 1887, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway began service to the area, which was later opened to settlement as part of the Land Run of 1889; early settlers decided to keep the name "Norman".

On April 22, 1889, the Land Run saw the founding of Norman, with at least 150 residents spending the night in makeshift campsites; by the next morning a downtown was already being constructed. Almost immediately two prominent Norman businessmen, former Purcell railroad freight agent Delbert Larsh and railroad station chief cashier Thomas Waggoner, began lobbying for the territorial government to locate its first university in Norman. The two were interested in growing the city and had reasoned that, rather than try to influence legislatures to locate the heavily contested territory capital in Norman, it made sense to attempt to secure the state's first university instead (a move that would be far less controversial). On December 19, 1890, Larsh and Waggoner were successful with the passage of Council Bill 114, establishing the University of Oklahoma in Norman approximately 18 years before Oklahoma statehood.

MainStNormanEarly1900s
Main Street in Norman, circa 1900

The City of Norman was formally incorporated on May 13, 1891. The city has continued to grow throughout the decades. By 1902 the downtown district contained two banks, two hotels, a flour mill, and other businesses; by 1913 there were over 3,700 residents living in Norman when the Oklahoma Railway Company decided to extend its interurban streetcar running from Oklahoma City to Moore into Norman, spurring additional population growth. The rail lines eventually transitioned to freight during the 1940s as the United States Numbered Highway system developed. The city population reached 11,429 in 1940.

In 1941, the University of Oklahoma and Norman city officials established Max Westheimer Field, a university airstrip, and then leased it to the U.S. Navy as a Naval Flight Training Center in 1942. The training center was used for training combat pilots during World War II. A second training center, known as Naval Air Technical Training Center, and a naval hospital were later established to the south. In the years following World War II the airstrip was transferred back to the university's control. Today the airstrip is called the University of Oklahoma Westheimer Airport. Following the war the remaining military presence and post-war veterans who came to Norman to get an education again grew the city's population, which was 27,006 by 1950. The Navy again utilized the bases in a lesser capacity from 1952 to 1959 in support of the Korean War effort.

WelcomeToNorman
Welcome marker on Main Street

With the completion of Interstate 35 in June 1959, Norman found its role as a bedroom community to Oklahoma City increasing rapidly; in 1960 Norman's population was 33,412 but by the end of the decade had grown to 52,117. Throughout the 1960s Norman's land mass increased by 174 square miles (450 km2) by annexing surrounding areas. The city's growth trends have continued early in the 21st century, with the population reaching 95,694 in 2000 and 110,925 in 2010.

Geography

The U.S. Census Bureau reported Norman's geographical coordinates as Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:mw' not found. (35°14'26"N 97°20'43"W). This appears to be the geographical center of the city limits, which include all of Lake Thunderbird. Virtually all of Norman's development is well to the west of this point.

In the Geographic Names Information System of the United States Geological Survey, the city's geographical coordinates are shown as Lua error in package.lua at line 80: module 'Module:mw' not found. (35°13'21"N 97°26'22"W). This is a location in downtown Norman.

As of 2010, the city has a total area of 189.42 square miles (490.6 km2), of which 178.77 square miles (463.0 km2) is land and 10.65 square miles (27.6 km2) is water.

The center of this large incorporated area is 20 miles (30 km) from the center of Oklahoma City and, separated primarily by Moore, is in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Topography

Norman and the surrounding areas are mostly flat with an elevation near 1,171 feet (357 m). The terrain in the western section of Norman is prairie, while the eastern section, including the area surrounding Lake Thunderbird, consists of some 6,000 acres (24 km2) of lakes and Cross Timbers forest. The lowest point within city limits is approximately 970 feet (296 m) above sea level (located at 35.20388N, 97.17735W). The highest point is approximately 1,245 feet (379 m) above sea level (located at 35.21266N, 97.39000W).

Climate

Climate data for Norman, Oklahoma
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 81
(27.2)
90
(32.2)
97
(36.1)
99
(37.2)
102
(38.9)
109
(42.8)
112
(44.4)
116
(46.7)
107
(41.7)
100
(37.8)
91
(32.8)
86
(30)
116
(46.7)
Average high °F (°C) 50.0
(10)
53.0
(11.67)
63.2
(17.33)
72.1
(22.28)
79.3
(26.28)
86.5
(30.28)
91.9
(33.28)
92.9
(33.83)
83.5
(28.61)
72.8
(22.67)
63.1
(17.28)
50.6
(10.33)
71.6
(22)
Daily mean °F (°C) 39.0
(3.89)
41.9
(5.5)
51.7
(10.94)
60.8
(16)
69.0
(20.56)
76.7
(24.83)
81.5
(27.5)
82.0
(27.78)
72.5
(22.5)
61.4
(16.33)
51.6
(10.89)
39.9
(4.39)
60.67
(15.926)
Average low °F (°C) 28.1
(-2.17)
30.9
(-0.61)
40.2
(4.56)
49.4
(9.67)
58.8
(14.89)
66.9
(19.39)
71.0
(21.67)
71.0
(21.67)
61.6
(16.44)
50.0
(10)
40.1
(4.5)
29.2
(-1.56)
49.8
(9.89)
Record low °F (°C) −9
(-22.8)
−17
(-27.2)
1
(-17.2)
20
(-6.7)
28
(-2.2)
43
(6.1)
52
(11.1)
47
(8.3)
32
(0)
10
(-12.2)
0
(-17.8)
−3
(-19.4)
−17
(-27.2)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.50
(38.1)
1.96
(49.8)
3.09
(78.5)
3.14
(79.8)
4.83
(122.7)
5.45
(138.4)
3.14
(79.8)
3.29
(83.6)
3.94
(100.1)
4.03
(102.4)
2.04
(51.8)
2.21
(56.1)
38.61
(980.7)
Snowfall inches (cm) 1.9
(4.8)
1.0
(2.5)
0.4
(1)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0.4
(1)
1.3
(3.3)
4.9
(12.4)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.2 6.0 8.0 7.5 10.0 9.4 6.0 6.5 7.4 7.7 5.9 6.2 85.8
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 1.0 0.9 0.3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.2 1.4 3.8
Source: Records (1894–2011); Normals (1981–2010)

Norman falls within a temperate, humid subtropical climate region that is identified as "Cfa" class on the Köppen climate classification. On average Norman receives about 38 inches (970 mm) of precipitation per year; May and June are the wettest months. Temperatures average 61 °F (16 °C) for the year. Average daytime highs range from 50 °F (10 °C) in January to nearly 93 °F (34 °C) in August; average lows range from 28 °F (−2 °C) in January to 71 °F (22 °C) in July and August. Summers can be extremely hot, as was evident in the historically-hot summer of 1980, and again in 2011, when temperatures climbed above 100 °F (38 °C) over most days from mid-June through early September (see http://www.nws.noaa.gov/climate/index.php?wfo=oun, look up June, July and August 2011 data). Consistent winds, averaging near 10 mph (16 km/h) and usually from the south to southeast, help to temper hotter weather during the summer and intensify cold periods during the winter.

Cloud-to-ground lightning2 - NOAA
Lightning strikes Norman during a nighttime thunderstorm

Norman averages a growing season of 209 days, but plants that can withstand short periods of colder temperatures may have an additional three to six weeks. Winter months tend to be cloudier than those in summer, with the percentage of possible sunshine ranging from an average of about 55% in winter to nearly 80% in summer.

Norman lies within Tornado Alley, the region of the United States where tornadic activity is most frequent. The city has a tornado season lasting from March through June, with over 80% of all reported tornadoes occurring during these months. The Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including Norman, is the most tornado-prone area in the United States. As recently as May 10, 2010, a tornado outbreak occurred in southeastern Norman that resulted in the loss of multiple homes and businesses. On April 13, 2012 Norman was struck by a weak tornado. On May 6, 2015, the northwestern part of Norman was hit by a weak tornado.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 787
1900 2,225 182.7%
1910 3,724 67.4%
1920 5,004 34.4%
1930 9,603 91.9%
1940 11,429 19.0%
1950 27,006 136.3%
1960 33,412 23.7%
1970 52,117 56.0%
1980 68,020 30.5%
1990 80,071 17.7%
2000 95,694 19.5%
2010 110,925 15.9%
Est. 2015 120,284 8.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
2013 Estimate

As of the census of 2010, there were 110,925 people, 44,661 households, and 24,913 families residing within the city. By population, Norman was the third-largest city in Oklahoma and the 225th-largest city in the United States. The population density was 616 people per square mile (208.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 84.7% White, 4.3% African American, 4.7% Native American, 3.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.9% from other races, and 5.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.4% of the population.

Of the 44,661 households, 25.0% had children under the age of 18, 41.5% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.2% were non-families. Individuals living alone made up 30.7% of all households; 7.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.94.

The age distribution was 5.8% under the age of 5, 5.7% from 5 to 9, 5.2% from 10 to 14, 8.9% from 15 to 19, 16.0% from 20 to 24, 9.0% from 25 to 29, 6.6% from 30 to 34, 5.6% from 35 to 39, 5.3% from 40 to 44, 5.9% from 45 to 49, 5.9% from 50 to 54, 5.4% from 55 to 59, 4.6% from 60 to 64, 3.2% from 65 to 69, 2.3% from 70 to 74, 1.8% from 75 to 79, 1.4% from 80 to 84, and 1.3% over 85 years of age. The median age was 29.6 years. Males made up 49.7% of the population while females made up 50.3%.

The median household income in the city was $44,396, and the median income for a family was $62,826. Males had a median income of $41,859 versus $35,777 for females. The per capita income for the city was $24,586. About 11.8% of families and 19.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.9% of those under age 18 and 8.9% of those age 65 or over.

Although religious information is not collected by the U.S. census, according to a 2000 survey by Dale E. Jones of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, 50.2% of the population in Norman is affiliated with a religious institution. Of those 43.6% were Southern Baptist, 15.0% Catholic Church, 13.0% United Methodist, 3.3% Assembly of God, 2.8% Churches of Christ, 2.1% Latter-day Saint (Mormon), 2.1% Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, 1.9% Disciples of Christ, 1.7% Presbyterian Church, and 14.6% other Christian denominations or religions.

Culture

Museums and theater

Fred jones museum
Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art

Norman enjoys many cultural attractions that are funded by the university. The Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art made national and international news in 2000 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, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro.

The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is a museum containing over 50,000 square feet (5,000 m2) of exhibits ranging from archaeology, paleontology, ethnology, herpetology, ornithology, and Native American studies. Its exhibits are intended to immerse visitors in the state's long history. The museum features many complete collections of dinosaur fossils and is also noted for its Paleozoic collection, considered to be one of the largest and most important in existence.

The Moore-Lindsay House is a Queen Anne-style home built prior to 1900 by prominent Norman home builder William Moore; it was purchased by the city of Norman in 1973 and today serves as the city and Cleveland County's historical museum. Located at 508 N. Peters, the Moore-Lindsay House's architecture is representative of Norman during the Victorian era. The Cleveland County Historical Society maintains a collection of over 5,000 rare books, documents, and other artifacts in its archives located inside the house.

Catlett Music Center at the University of Oklahoma features many orchestral and jazz performances and the Weitzenhoffer Family College of Fine Arts' Schools of Dance, Drama, and Musical Theatre offer many student programs throughout the year.

The city is also home to many privately funded galleries and performance sites.

Community events

Norman hosts many free festivals and community events that occur throughout the year.

The Norman Medieval Fair is a celebration of medieval-themed games, art, and culture, with highlights of jousting, human chessmatch combats & other combat shows, and several musical & dance acts. The event is typically held during the last weekend of March or first weekend of April in Reaves Park, near the university. It has been held annually in Norman since 1976 and was originally a forum for the English Department at the University of Oklahoma. It is the largest weekend event held in the state of Oklahoma, with over 325,000 people in attendance in 2006 and growing yearly. Events Media Network has named Medieval Fair one of the top 100 events in the United States.

Norman Music Festival is an annual weekend music festival held in April in downtown Norman. Established in 2008, the event had over 26,000 people in attendance during the 2009 festival. Originally a one-day event, the festival has quickly grown so large that it is now an all-weekend concert series. The festival highlights both local musicians and internationally acclaimed artists and features many forms and styles of music.

Groovefest is a music festival hosted annually at Andrews Park. On the last Sunday in September, the music festival is held to help raise awareness about human rights. The event was established in 1986 by the University of Oklahoma chapter of Amnesty International.

The Chocolate Festival, the only fundraiser of the year for the city's Firehouse Arts Center, was ranked #3 for food festivals across America by the Food Network. This festival offers various chocolate tasting sessions, chocolate art competitions and exhibits, chocolate dessert competitions and more. It has been an annual tradition since 1983.

Jazz in June is a music festival held the last full weekend in June at various venues across Norman. The festival features both jazz and blues musical performances as well as jazz educational clinics taught by professional musicians appearing in the festival and post-concert jam sessions at local venues which bring headliners and local artists together. Jazz in June, one of the major cultural events in the state as well as the City of Norman, attracts a combined concert audience of 50,000 drawn from throughout the state, region and nation. Another 100,000 or more enjoy these same performances through post-festival broadcasts on KGOU Public Radio as well as other public radio stations throughout the state, region and nation.

May Fair is an arts festival held every year during the first weekend in May at Andrews Park. It features top area performers, fine art, crafts, and food.

Summer Breeze Concert Series is a series of concerts held from Spring to Fall at various park venues across Norman. The series is sponsored by the Performing Arts Studio.

Midsummer Nights' Fair is a nighttime arts festival held during two evenings in June. The fair features art, music, and food and is held outside the Firehouse Art Center located in Lions Park.

The Norman Mardi Gras parade is a celebration of Mardi Gras occurring on the Saturday closest to Fat Tuesday. The parade is held in downtown Norman and features themed costumes and floats.

The Main Street Christmas Holiday Parade is a celebration of Christmas and the holiday season held every December in downtown Norman. The parade features holiday-themed costumes and floats.

Parks and recreation

DuckPondNormanOK
Brandt Park, "The Duck Pond"

Norman's Parks and Recreation Department facilitates 55 neighborhood and community parks, three recreation centers, a golf course and driving range, three disc golf courses, a complete swim complex with waterslides, a wading pool, 32 tennis courts, and three special services centers (that offer cultural arts and senior citizen activities). Griffin Community Park Sports Complex includes 16 soccer fields, 14 baseball/softball fields, and four football fields.

Neighborhoods

WestNorman
A neighborhood in west Norman

Norman has a wide variety of neighborhoods. Downtown Norman is an area of approximately 2 square miles (5 km2) bounded by University Blvd., Symmes St., Porter Ave., and Daws St.; primary streets include Main St. and Gray Ave. The area consists of restaurants, art galleries, and other businesses; it is home to some of the oldest buildings in Oklahoma.

Hall Park is an area northeast of downtown Norman that was originally an independent township; in 2005 it was annexed into Norman, becoming one of its neighborhoods. The area is home to many middle-class suburban homes and is historically important in that it was advertised as the United States' first "all-electric town." President Ronald Reagan, then an executive with General Electric, attended Hall Park's grand opening ceremonies in 1962 where he was named the town's honorary first mayor.

CampusCorner
Campus Corner near Boyd and Asp

The University of Oklahoma and the area surrounding it are home to many historically significant neighborhoods. The university itself has a unique Gothic-inspired architecture known as "Cherokee Gothic," so named by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Churches and houses in the surrounding neighborhoods can be described as neo-Gothic or Queen Anne in style. Norman has two city-designated historic preservation districts in the area: the Miller Historic District, bounded by Symmes St., Classen Ave., and Miller Ave.; and the Chautauqua Historic District, bounded by Symmes St., Brooks St., Chautauqua Ave., and Lahoma Ave. Both of these residential neighborhoods contain houses designed from a mixture of architectural styles dating from 1903 to 1935, with the majority of the Miller neighborhood being of the Bungalow or American Craftsman style homes. Any external changes or repairs to homes in these areas must be approved by the Norman Historic Preservation Commission.

The area immediately north of the university is known as Campus Corner and contains a mixture of businesses, bars, and restaurants. The neighborhoods to the east of the campus are home to many students, both in residential housing and high-rise condos/apartments.

Norman enjoys many tree-lined landscapes, participating in the ReLeaf Norman and Tree City USA programs.

Twin towns – Sister cities

In accordance with Sister Cities International, an organization that began under President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956, Norman has been given four international sister cities in an attempt to foster cross-cultural understanding:

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