In 1870, the US Land Office contracted with a professional engineer to survey much of Oklahoma territory. Abner E. Norman, a young surveyor, became chairman 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. When the “SOONERS” (those who headed west before the official Land Run date, April 22, 1889) and the other settlers arrived in the heart of Oklahoma, they kept the name “NORMAN.” Today, with an estimated 120,866 residents, Norman is the third largest city in the State of Oklahoma. Norman’s current population is 129,022.
In 1890, Norman was chosen as the location for the University of Oklahoma (OU), contingent upon the county passing bonds to construct a building. Town and country residents were also required to donate 40 acres of land for a campus site. The residents of Norman were successful in all their plans to be OU’s home and by 1895, the university enrolled 100 students. Today, the Norman campus has an enrollment of approximately 22,000.
Today, OU and the City of Norman are still making history. Norman was recently recognized as one of the most progressive cities in the state and the Norman Public School system was acknowledged as the top school system in Oklahoma.