It's not hard to find the celebration after a big win at Auburn. Just head for the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Ave, where Auburn's campus and the City of Auburn come together. And watch out for flying rolls of toilet paper. Since the beginning of Auburn athletics, Tiger fans have celebrated victories there.
The intersection, which marks the transition from downtown Auburn to the university campus, is known as Toomer's Corner. It is named after former State Senator "Shel" Toomer (a halfback on Auburn's first football team in 1892) who founded Toomer's Drugs in 1896. Toomer's Drugs is a small business on the corner that has been an Auburn landmark for over 130 years.
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The tradition of rolling Toomer's Corner is said to have begun when Toomer's Drugs had the only telegraph in the city. During away football games, when employees of the local drug store received news of a win, they would throw the ticker tape from the telegraph onto the power lines.
The beginning of the tradition of throwing toilet paper into the trees, power lines and every other stationary object on the corner is open to debate.
"We celebrated Pat Sullivan winning the Heisman Trophy there in 1971 and no toilet paper was tossed," said David Housel, Auburn Athletics Director Emeritus. "That started a year later when we celebrated the 17-16 victory over Alabama in the `Punt, Bama, Punt' game."
That was the game in which Auburn ran back two punts for touchdowns in the last six minutes. The use of toilet paper was inspired by comments from Terry Henley, a colorful halfback whose rural drawl made him a darling of reporters. The unbeaten Crimson Tide was second in the nation coming into the game and Henley made a pledge: "We're going to beat the No. 2 out of Alabama."
Hence the rolls of Charmin.
The Toomer's Oaks were removed in April, 2013, after a poisoning incident that occurred after the Iron Bowl in 2010. Although the trees didn't survive, the tradition at Toomer's will carry on. Temporary structures have been placed to roll in anticipation of Auburn wins until new trees are planted.
Plans for Toomer's Corner
On Saturday, April 20, 2013, the Auburn Family showed that not only was the Auburn Spirit alive and well, but soaring to new heights. More than 83,000 fans filled Jordan-Hare Stadium to set an attendance record for A-Day, and later that evening they celebrated into the night with one final roll of the Auburn Oaks at Toomer's Corner. Generations gathered beneath the oaks one final time, sharing stories and creating memories to last a lifetime.
Keeping alive the tradition of rolling Toomer's Corner is important to the entire Auburn Family. The University has partnered with the City of Auburn to create structures suitable for rolling at the Magnolia Avenue-College Street intersection. Fans will gather there as they always have following big victories or other momentous occasions to celebrate.
Set to be implemented in 2014 is a new Samford Park area at Toomer's Corner that will include the planting of two oak trees. The new design will place trees farther back from the intersection; maintain the existing and historic character of the corner; retain the 1917 gates in their current positions; add more seating and shaded areas; and include the planting of additional trees along a curved walkway through Samford Park. The design was selected after a series of public workshops and an online survey in which more than 10,000 alumni, students, fans and friends provided opinions and ideas.