Oxford Alabama History
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name “Oxford” was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Prior to non-Indian settlement, the area that currently includes Oxford was inhabited by Creek Indians of the Abeika towns. Archaeologists have identified several mounds in the area that were built prior to Creek inhabitation of the site.
Situated just northwest of Cheaha Mountain, Oxford began as a small log-cabin community known as Lick Skillet and became a trade center for cotton farmers.
Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston.
Oxford Alabama in 1921
Compiled in 1921 by Thomas McAdory Owen, LL.D.
Post office and incorporated town, on the Southern Railway and the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, in the southern part of Calhoun County, on Big Shoal Creek, 3 miles south of Anniston, and 22 miles northeast of Talladega. Altitude: 640 feet.
Population: 1870 – 1,147; 1880 – 780; 1890 – 1,473; 1900 – 1,372; 1910 – 1,090.
It is incorporated under the municipal code of 1907. It rents all its municipal buildings except the jail and fire department buildings. It has privately owned gas and electric light plants, municipally owned waterworks, 8 miles sanitary sewerage, paved sidewalks laid in 1912 and 1913 at a cost of $6,000, and a volunteer fire department. Its tax rate is 5 mills, and its bonded indebtedness, $22,000, maturing in 20 years – $10,000 for waterworks, and $12,000 for sewerage. There is an electric street car system between Oxford and Anniston, and to Oxford Lake, the site of the plant of the Alabama Power Co. The First National Bank is the only banking institution, and the Oxford Tribune, a weekly, its only newspaper. Its industries are a cottonseed oil mill, a linter ginnery, a fertilizer plant, a cotton ginnery, a firebrick plant, a cotton-cord and twine mill, a Farmer’s Alliance warehouse, and iron ore and coal mines in the vicinity. It is the location of the Calhoun County High School. There is a playground or park, occupying a large block in the city, and under the supervision of the school improvement association. Oxford Lark Park, owned by the Alabama Power Co., is convenient to the town.
The locality was known in pioneer days as “Lick-Skillet,” but for what reason no one now knows. It was settled by the Kelly, Snow, Gunnells, Dudley, and Don families. In 1868 John L. Dodson founded Oxford College there (q. v.).
References. – Armes, Story of coal and iron in Alabama (1910), pp. 179 et seq.; Brewer, Alabama (1872), p. 152; Northern Alabama (1888), p. 112; Polk’s Alabama gazetteer, 1888-9, p. 640; Alabama Official and Statistical Register, 1915.
Oxford Alabama Police Department
Oxford maintains a sixty-man police department. The agency is divided into Uniform Division, Criminal Investigation Division, Administrative Division. The agency also has several specialized units including Special Investigations Division, Emergency Services Unit, Traffic Homicide Unit, Aviation Unit, and Honor Guard.
Oxford Alabama Events
On the first Saturday in October, the city holds its annual Oxfordfest, which features arts, crafts, food, and music. Proceeds from the festival go to local charities and organizations.