Gan Matthews, News 9
NORMAN, Oklahoma -- Everybody knows that Norman is the home of the University of Oklahoma, the Hitachi plant, and the Miracle Mile of Cars, but sometimes the charm of a city is found in the all-but-unnoticed spots that visitors might overlook.
You've heard about Brigadoon. You've heard about Lueckenbach. Well, Norman has its own little hidden treasure just up Highway 77 called Hollywood Corners.
Hollywood Corners has been in business since 1925. Tucked between Moore and Norman on Franklin Road, the store might look out of place, but if you want beer, beef jerky, peanuts, minnows, or just friendly greeting then you've come to the right place.
Back in the old days, before it was a store, Hollywood Corners was a dance hall.
"Some of the people that use to play here back in those days-- Bob Wills, Leon McCulliff, Merle Lindsay-- all the old timers would come here and play two or three times a year. It was a pretty rough little place at that time," said Larry Stacy, Hollywood Corners former owner. "The nice girls in town weren't allowed out here."
Stacy sold the store two years ago but only after the new owner promised to preserve it the way it was.
"It's basically a historical place, let's put it this way. And I always wanted to be a part of the history," said Siraj Roy, Hollywood Corners new owner.
In the 1930s some of Hollywood Corners' customers used to stay in cabins out back. A few-- like Bonnie and Clyde-- were running from the law.
"Bonnie's kinfolk lived out east of here, and they would come into town and spend the nights here," Stacy said.
There are stories about cock fights also being held out back. Milo Fox heard all those stories when his parents owned the store.
"I worked here and washed windshields and pumped gas back when self-service gas was totally unheard of," Fox said.
As a young Norman, Jim Bumgarner also used to pump gas at Hollywood Corners. Later, as James Garner, he went on to find work in another place called Hollywood. Today another star in country and western music sometimes drops by.
"Toby Keith lives down the street and this is his favorite store. So it's not more about the structure, it's memories it's built on," Roy said.
Roy said he believes as Norman expands north and Moore expands south, Hollywood Corners won't be threatened, but will in fact prosper and will be around for its centennial in 2025.