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How Bricktown developer got his start
Jim Brewer: His early career

By Steve Lackmeyer Published: June 29, 2008
Trying to earn money, abide by his grandfather's rules and attend school, something had to give. After getting a start at Capitol Hill High School, Oklahoma City businessman and developer Jim Brewer dropped out. To this day, he does not have a high school diploma.

His start up the ladder began with a job at an uncle's salvage yard, where he worked several years before getting married and starting his own family. Working with the old cars, he learned to rebuild transmissions. And with a family to care for, he started his own shop — Jim Dandy's Transmissions — along Reno near Harvey.

"I was aggressive, I was a hard worker,” Brewer said proudly. "And I did fairly well at it.”

An acquaintance who worked at a nightclub then approached Brewer with a deal to invest with him in buying the operation.

"I backed him,” Brewer said, laughing. "Well, he got in there, and he didn't know how to run a club. I took it over. And I really liked the nightclub business. And I made a lot of money. I was a personable guy. People met me and liked me. When you came in my club, I met you at the door and made you feel welcome.”

Knack for business
Brewer then opened three more nightclubs.

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Reflections on the businessman
Jim Brewer's classmates at Capitol Hill High School included several future power players, including the late city councilman Jim Scott, developers David Yost and J.W. Mashburn and attorney Harry Merson.

Merson, who was student president at Capitol Hill, said Brewer was not a standout in social circles at the school.

"He worked, and he wasn't involved in any of the school activities,” Merson said. "I just can't remember him being involved.”

He suspects Brewer had it "worse off” than other students, which at the time consisted of only whites and American Indians (the school was integrated) who were children of working-class families.

"The parents were typically government workers — firemen, police, Tinker Field, Will Rogers World Airport,” Merson said.

It was Scott who declared Brewer the "mayor of Bricktown” during a council meeting in the early 1990s.


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