Covering up the Old
A casual look at this "leather and oak furniture gallery" at 209 E Main will reveal a modern proprietor's attempt to sustain interest and commercial traffic in Norman's historical district. Shops like these tend to find their niche by setting up in distinctive locations, where customer service seems more personalized than what shoppers experience in a larger mall. A closer look however at the second floor facade will reveal a bricked-up window and the building's former purpose - the Norman State Bank - carved in a mysterious rune.
Occupying one of the historical buildings on Main Street, the Midway Barber Shop boasts a continuous business since 1893. If true, the haircutter is possibly the second oldest institution and going concern in town, second only to the University (1890). While the barber may have originated in Norman as early as 1893, the moniker Fidelity on the entablature argues a different origin for this particular building (note also the bay window on the upper story).
Rite of Passage
"Typical College Town"
Like Oklahoma City, Norman grew up as a direct result of the 1889 Land Run that opened 2 million acres for settlement for homesteaders. The following year in 1890, seventeen years ahead of statehood, the University of Oklahoma was formed, at the time a tuition-free institution. Norman began to expand. Elegant houses from the period still stand near campus or throughout the city limits, and certain areas have been listed on the national register for historic site or districts. With a normal enrollment of over 20,000 students, the options around town are often based on campus life, but while the downtown area is still a somber reminder of more carefree days, much of Norman is still developing. New hotels, new businesses, and new resources commit to the community every year, making Norman one of the most ideal neighborhoods in the entire state.