Auburn Tradition | Rolling Toomer's
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.
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.
New Oaks Planted
Despite the 23-degree weather, members of the Auburn Family gathered around Toomer's Corner and cheered as two new live oaks were planted at Toomer's Corner on Feb. 14, 2015.
The new trees came from a nursery owned by MeadWestvaco in Ehrhardt, South Carolina. Both are approximately 35 feet tall with 30-foot spreads.
Large cranes were used to lower the trees into their respective places, while workers attached support straps to stabilize the trees as they acclimate to their new home.
The planting of the oaks is the final step in Phase I of the Samford Park renovation, which included enlarging the plaza and improving the landscaping near the corner. The second phase, slated to begin after A-Day in April, will feature the planting of 30 15-foot-tall trees - grown from acorns collected from the original oaks - between Toomer's Corner and Samford Hall.
In order to give the new live oaks adequate time to take root and acclimate to their new environment, Auburn fans are being asked to wait until fall 2016 before the tradition of rolling the trees can resume.
More information is available at auburn.edu/oaks.