The Norman Transcript


April 20, 2014

Settlers found opportunities in red dirt fields

NORMAN — There are few constants in families where the teenagers and soon-to-be teenagers outnumber their parents. One things holds true at my home: Nobody gets out of bed in the morning before dear old Dad.

My father was the same way. Four to five hours is all the sleep you need, he’d say. His father was making hospital rounds before the sun topped the Canadian. My great-grandfather was likely working on the rails in the pre-dawn coolness. Those cool summer mornings when the grass and flowers are still perky with morning dew and the birds are warming up with their wake-up songs are perfect complements for that first cup of coffee. It’s a time for thoughts about the big pictures of life. Thoughts like how your ancestors got here and whether your children will stay around and what your community will look like at the start of the next millennium.

No matter where you live in Norman, if the air is still and the atmosphere is right, you can hear the soothing rumble of an early-morning freight train as it passes over the tracks. Those glistening rails tied to the creosote-soaked timbers make up the spine of our community today much as they did more than 100 years ago. The return of passengers trains in recent years makes for two or more daily whistles, one at mid-morning and one late in the evening.

Norman’s Camp has come a long way since the railroad employees and early-day settlers descended upon the forests, creeks, pastureland, wild flowers and animals that inhabited this little corner of the Southwest. When they got here, they found a sort of crosstimbers between the flatlands of the west and the treelines of the east.

Abner E.Norman, the young Kentuckian that led the railroad survey crew through here about 130 years ago, would be proud of what has become of his campground. A member of his survey crew scraped the bark from an elm tree trunk and burned “Norman’s Camp” into the wood. The tree is gone but that site, a bit south of the intersection of what is now Classen Boulevard and Lindsey Street, was marked with a simple plaque.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Change some lines

    Editor, The Transcript: Looking at how our elected Republican friends are reacting to the refugee children crossing the border and now being housed in Lawton, I have a suggestion. Let’s edit the Christian Bible in several places to reflect ...

    July 21, 2014

  • New health care system demonized

    To the Editor: In October 2013, soon after we were asked to take over management responsibilities at our family business, we were visited by the company’s health insurance agent. She explained that a decision needed to be made regarding ...

    July 21, 2014

  • Norman Forward builds momentum

    The quiet campaign to build momentum for a citywide public works project is beginning to attract some attention....

    July 20, 2014

  • The longer the wait, the higher the cost

    Editor, The Transcript: Thanks for the great article of July 3 on the Norman chapter of the Citizens Climate Lobby group that recently went to D.C. as citizen lobbyists, working to get a revenue-neutral carbon pollution fee, refunded in ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Tax those trees out of here

    I read your editorial “Pesky red cedars” in the Norman Transcript of Tuesday, July 15, 2014. I have attended two meetings where the problem of the eastern red cedar trees was discussed. Because of the drought conditions in Oklahoma, we ...

    July 20, 2014

  • Make gun safety a health issue

    Quick, are you more likely to die by a bullet or in a car crash? Common sense would seem to suggest the latter. Cars are everywhere. We are an auto-obsessed nation. To be American is to drive — everywhere. Teenagers itch to get behind the ...

    July 20, 2014

  • They just want to be free ... maybe

    Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdistan region, rattled many cages this month when he announced in parliament that the KRG would be moving ahead soon on a referendum on independence from Iraq. If Kurdistan goes ahead ...

    July 20, 2014