Travel to U.S.: Oklahoma: Norman in maps
A small collection of maps showing a century of growth in Norman, Oklahoma.
A U.S.G.S. topo sheet from 1893 shows the railroad and the original townside grid of two quarter-sections oriented to the track. It shows, on the south side, the first addition (the north half of the northeast quarter of section 31), along with other additions to the north. The first addition remains oriented to the railroad, but the additions to the north are realigned to fit the public-land survey.
The plat of the original townsite, about as unimaginative as you can get, although certainly tidy.
Closeup, with the railraod station (four tracks!) and a good view of the lot design: 20 feet wide for all comers, with alleys in back.
Topo sheet from 1936. The original grid is now wrapped nroth and south by new streets, but their extent is still very modest. The south hald of town is dominated by the University of Oklahoma campus.
Topo sheet from 1951. The big changes are the North and South campuses. Both were built as naval air stations, which is why the north campus has an airport. (The south campus was for airplane mechanics.) The South Campus would revert to the Navy during the Korean War but was finally abandoned in 1959. The city of Norman is still a small place, fitting almost entirely with the four square miles centered on the original townsite.
Topo sheet from 1965. Interstate 35 is complete, and subdivisions are working their way west toward it. A cloverleaf marks the crossing of Main Street., parts of which are still rural. The buildings on north and south base survive, though many are empty.
The east side of town is almost entirely rural. At the lower right, State Highway 9 ends at Porter Avenue.
The city's GIS division produced this map showing the area of Norman that was covered by subdivision plats in 1960. The map also shows streets as they existed shortly after 2000. The near-square block northeast of the city's built-up area is Hall Park, an enclave incorporated in the 1960s but annexed by Norman in 2005. The city's great size, extending east to include Lake Thunderbird, goes back to the 1950s, when that lake was built partly to provide domestic water for Norman. The city was determined to control land-use around it.
The biggest change between 1980 and 2000 was in the west side of the city, where work continued building out the neighborhood called Brookhaven.
By 1980, scattered subdivisions had been platted almost everywhere in the city except at the far northwest, a flood-prone area.
The city's land-use plan, published in 1997. Red is commercial, dominated by land along the freeway; downtown is almost insignificant. The dark green shows floodplains, chiefly on the Canadian River and also on the east-flowing Little River, Rock Creek, and Dave Blue Creek. Blue is institutional, dominated by the University, the old naval bases, and (on the east) the Griffen Memorial Hospital, a state-run mental-health facility. Yellow is low-density residential; brown is high-density. The serpentine street just west of the airport serves the University Town Center, a commercial area that would not even begin to be developed until a decade after publication of this map.
A watershed: the moment that Norman broke free from gridded subdividions. The diagram compares two hypothetical subdivisions, one gridded and the other laid out as blocks around open space. The diagram was intended to show developers they they could make more money while providing a greater amount of green space. The diagram wasn't as theoretical as it looks, either, and the diagram on the right was actually built as shown. The street on the north is Robinson; the one on the right is Flood. Lee Rogers, the planner, for many years headed the university's department of regional and city planning.
The same tract, as built. This is the Woodslawn Addition.
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