A look at the history of the Toomer's Oaks - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

A look at the history of the Toomer's Oaks

Posted: Updated: March 25, 2011 05:55 PM
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AUBURN, AL (WTVM) -

Auburn University is taking steps to immortalize the memories of the Toomer's Oaks.

Fans have been leaving everything from toilet paper rolls, books, and hand-made get well cards at the base of the trees after the news broke back in February the trees had been poisoned.

The special collections and archives department of auburn university's library is collecting these items to be able to look back at this part of the trees' lives.  While the university is working to preserve the trees, News Leader Nine took a look back at the history of these famous icons.

South College Avenue looked a little different in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but one thing was the same: the Toomer's Oaks.  These trees were loved before the first model-T hit the roads, before the country was suffering through the Great Depression, and at least two decades before the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Recently, the poisoning of these 130 year old iconic symbols have brought new light to Auburn's victory celebrations of rolling the trees.  But, how did this all start?

Greg Schmidt with Auburn's special collection library told News Leader Nine there are many theories.

"Before Auburn was on the radio or on TV, people would crowd around the telegraph office to find out the score of the game," said Schmidt.

He said the office was just down the road from Toomer's Corner.

"The telegraph operator would throw out a roll of telegraph tape to indicate a victory," said Schmidt.

He said this may have eventually led to rolling toilet paper on the trees.  He also added the name Toomer's Corner has its own history.

"The Toomer's Drugs of course was one of the earliest business downtown," said Schmidt.

Shel Toomer owned the drug store and founded the city's first bank near the trees.  Such a strong presence helped with what Schmidt calls the corner's cultural name: Toomer's.

While the trees are dying, Auburn Fans are working to hold onto these beloved memories.

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