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Celebrities

Column: How about a home tour of Norman celebrities? | Opinion

Real estate of the rich and famous is of interest to many of us. Common people want to know how to live and whether there are limits to well-being.

What if we did a similar tour in Norman? Here are some characteristics of local celebrities that have changed in recent years.

The back room of the old Denver Corner Grocery on East Alameda Street was the 1928 birthplace of James Baumgarner. Most know him as James Garner.

The Denver community was covered in water after the opening of Lake Thunderbird in the mid-1960s. When the gates of the dam were closed, the water slowly covered the old town.

Garner’s parents were Weldon Warren Baumgarner and his wife Mildred Scott (Mick). She died five years after the birth of James. James and his two brothers, Jack and Charles, were sent to live with friends and family. After James’ father married, the family was reunited. James attended Wilson Elementary School, Norman Junior High School and Norman High School.

Legendary OU coach Bud Wilkinson lived in a house on South Lahoma Street. He moved to Norman to take an urgent assistant coaching position after World War II, serving many of his players. He took over as head coach in 1947 when Jim Tatum left a coaching job in Maryland.

Budd reportedly loved the La Homa Street home because he could walk to work out or walk home to lunch.

He later moved to a house in Brookside, south of Lindsey Street and west of Pickard Street.

Edwin DeBar was still in Norman when Budd Wilkinson arrived in 1946 even though he had been expelled from the university for his racist and political activities many years earlier. He lived in a house on Chautauqua Street north of Boyd Street.

Historian David Levy, writing in “The University of Oklahoma: A History, Volume 2,” said Abe Debar, as he was known to students, was a “proud, committed, and unabashed Klansman.” He was the state’s eldest dragon in the Ku Klux Klan. While serving as the OU’s acting president, he threw his support and urged his fellow Klansmans to vote for a candidate for governor.

Anti-Klan candidate, Jack Walton, won the race and appointed new governors. Levy wrote on June 5, 1923, that DeBarr was placed on unpaid leave on the understanding that he would not return to campus. In 1950, Debar was badly beaten by her granddaughter’s husband. While recovering from the attack, he had a heart attack and died at the age of 91.

Norman City Council renamed Debar Street, just east of the corner of campus, Deans Row. The university’s governors renamed DeBarr Hall the Chemistry Building.

Nicknamed “The High Priest of Country Music,” Conway Tweety lived in a custom home on Westwood Drive, supporting the local golf course.

The house reportedly had a recording studio inside and a guitar-shaped swimming pool.

Twitty’s hit songs included, “Hello Darlin,” “Linda on My Mind,” “You haven’t been so far before,” and “It’s Only Make Believe.” Tweety, who died in 1993, had 55 injuries in first place.

Not far from home was one of his famous Tweety Burgers in southern Oklahoma City. He also had a home in the Hillcrest area of ​​Oklahoma City.

Architect Herb Greene Prairie House built on a sectional road in Northeast Norman while he was a member of the OU’s School of Architecture in 1960-1961. He lived there with his family.

The house became instantly popular when Life magazine published pictures of it in 1961. A local group is trying to preserve the house as one of the few remaining examples of organic architecture for which Bruce Goffe is famous.

In an interview, Greene once told me that a tour bus stopped in the driveway of his car. The driver gets out, looks at the strangely shaped prairie house, says to Green.

“Is this where the tornado hit?”

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