If the city's beloved Bricktown area had its own mayor, it would have been Jim Brewer.
Considered the father, architect and thrust behind one of the greatest renaissances Oklahoma City has ever witnessed, it was only fitting that an American flag stood at half-staff last week upon the news of his death.
Brewer made his fortune in oil after a hard life growing up in poverty, but molded his legacy in Bricktown. Investing in the dilapidated area to the east of downtown in the 1980s, his vision of a thriving economic district became more than just a thought.
Brewer didn't just help create Bricktown; he saved it when the first group of investors gave up and sold to Brewer. When Oklahoma City residents decided the risk was worth it and voted to spend their tax dollars developing the area in 1995, the city was merely following Brewer's lead.
Brewer's friend Jim Cowan, former owner of the Bricktown Brewery, described Brewer as a man who "slept thinking about Bricktown."
Since those early days of development, Brewer continued his devotion to Bricktown. Through his companies, Brewer Enterprises and Brewer Entertainment, the legacy was in earnest. Brewer owned popular venues, including the Bricktown Ballroom, Santa Fe Train Depot, the Coca Cola Events Center and Bricktown Live. Brewer had also produced several special events like the St. Patrick's Day celebration, Reggaefest and Oktoberfest.
"He was looked upon as a guy who knew what was going on," Cowan said. "He always had an answer, not just what was, but what was going to be."
Brewer died at the age of 71.