Oxford, Mississippi

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Oxford, Mississippi
Oxford, MS collage.png
Lafayette County Mississippi Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Oxford Highlighted.svg
Location of Oxford, Mississippi
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Oxford, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°21′35″N89°31′34″W / 34.35972°N 89.52611°W / 34.35972; -89.52611 Coordinates: 34°21′35″N89°31′34″W / 34.35972°N 89.52611°W / 34.35972; -89.52611
CountryUnited States
State Mississippi
County Lafayette
Government
   Mayor Robyn Tannehill [1]
Area
[2]
  Total26.71 sq mi (69.18 km2)
  Land26.62 sq mi (68.94 km2)
  Water0.09 sq mi (0.24 km2)
Elevation
505 ft (154 m)
Population
 (2020)
  Total25,416
  Density954.88/sq mi (368.68/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP Code
38655
Area code 662
FIPS code 28-54840
GNIS feature ID0691644
Website www.oxfordms.net
A double-decker tourist bus and the former Mississippi state flag contrast beside the Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford, during the 2007 Double Decker Festival. Lafayette Co Mississippi courthouse during Double Decker Festival.jpg
A double-decker tourist bus and the former Mississippi state flag contrast beside the Lafayette County Courthouse in Oxford, during the 2007 Double Decker Festival.

Oxford is a city and college town in the U.S. state of Mississippi. Oxford lies 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, and is the county seat of Lafayette County. Founded in 1837, it was named after the British city of Oxford. The University of Mississippi, also known as "Ole Miss" is located adjacent to the city.

Contents

Purchasing the land from a Chickasaw, pioneers founded Oxford in 1837. In 1841, the Mississippi State Legislature selected it as the site of the state's first university, Ole Miss. Oxford is also the hometown of Nobel Prize-winning novelist William Faulkner, and served as the inspiration for his fictional Jefferson in Yoknapatawpha County. Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar, who served as a US Supreme Court Justice and Secretary of the Interior, also lived and is buried in Oxford.

As of the 2020 US Census, the population was 25,416. [3]

History

Oxford and Lafayette County were formed from lands ceded by the Chickasaw people in the Treaty of Pontotoc Creek in 1832. The county was organized in 1836, and in 1837 three pioneers—John Martin, John Chisom, and John Craig—purchased land from Hoka, a female Chickasaw landowner, as a site for the town. [4] They named it "Oxford", intending to promote it as a center of learning in the Old Southwest. [5] In 1841, the Mississippi legislature selected Oxford as the site of the state university, which opened in 1848.

During the American Civil War, Oxford was occupied by Union Army troops under Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman in 1862; in 1864 Major General Andrew Jackson Smith burned the buildings in the town square, including the county courthouse. In the postwar Reconstruction era, the town recovered slowly, aided by federal judge Robert Andrews Hill, who secured funds to build a new courthouse in 1872.

During this period many African American freedmen moved from farms into town and established a neighborhood known as "Freedmen Town", where they built houses, businesses, churches and schools, and exercised all the rights of citizenship. [6] Even after Mississippi disenfranchised most African Americans in the 1890 Constitution of Mississippi, they continued to build their lives in the face of discrimination.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Oxford drew national attention in the Ole Miss riot of 1962. State officials, including Governor Ross Barnett, prevented James Meredith, an African American, from enrolling at the University of Mississippi, even after the federal courts had ruled that he be admitted. Following secret face-saving negotiations with Barnett, President John F. Kennedy ordered 127 U.S. Marshals, 316 deputized U.S. Border Patrol agents and 97 federalized Federal Bureau of Prisons officers to accompany Meredith. [7] Thousands of armed "volunteers" flowed into the Oxford area. Meredith traveled to Oxford under armed guard to register, but riots by segregationists broke out in protest of his admittance.

That night, cars were burned, federal law enforcement were pelted with rocks, bricks and small arms fire, and university property was damaged by 3,000 rioters. Two civilians were killed by gunshot wounds, and the riot spread into adjacent areas of the city of Oxford. [8] Order was finally restored to the campus with the early morning arrival of 3,000 nationalized Mississippi National Guard and federal troops, who camped in the city. [9]

More than 3,000 journalists came to Oxford on September 26, 2008, to cover the first presidential debate of 2008, which was held at the University of Mississippi. [10]

Geography

Oxford is in central Lafayette County in northern Mississippi, about 75 miles (121 km) south-southeast of Memphis, Tennessee.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.7 square miles (69.2 km2), of which 26.6 square miles (68.9 km2) are land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.35%, is water. [11] The campus of the University of Mississippi, west of downtown, is an unincorporated area surrounded by the city.

The city is located in the North Central Hills region of Mississippi. The region is known for its heavily forested hills made up of red clay. The area is higher and greater in relief than areas to the west (such as the Mississippi Delta or loess bluffs along the Delta), but lower in elevation than areas in northeast Mississippi. The changes in elevation can be noticed when traveling on the Highway 6 bypass, since the east-west highway tends to transect many of the north-south ridges. Downtown Oxford sits on one of these ridges and the University of Mississippi sits on another one, while the main commercial corridors on either side of the city sit in valleys.

Oxford is located at the confluence of highways from eight directions: Mississippi Highway 6 (now co-signed with US-278) runs west 25 miles (40 km) to Batesville and east 31 miles (50 km) to Pontotoc; Highway 7 runs north 30 miles (48 km) to Holly Springs and south 18 miles (29 km) to Water Valley. Highway 30 goes northeast 33 miles (53 km) to New Albany; Highway 334 ("Old Highway 6") leads southeast 19 miles (31 km) to Toccopola; Taylor Road leads southwest 9 miles (14 km) to Taylor; and Highway 314 ("Old Sardis Road") leads northwest, formerly to Sardis but now 11 miles (18 km) to the Clear Creek Recreation Area on Sardis Lake.

The streets in the downtown area follow a grid pattern with two naming conventions. Many of the north-south streets are numbered from west to east, beginning at the old railroad depot, with numbers from four to nineteen. The place of "Twelfth Street", however, is taken by North and South Lamar Boulevard (formerly North Street and South Street). The east-west avenues are named for the U.S. presidents in chronological order from north to south, from Washington to Cleveland; here again, there are gaps: there is no street for John Quincy Adams, who shares a last name with John Adams; "Polk Avenue" is replaced by University Avenue; and "Arthur Avenue" is lacking.

Climate

Oxford has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa) and is in hardiness zone 7b.

Climate data for Oxford, Mississippi (University of Mississippi) 1991–2020, extremes 1893–present
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)80
(27)
83
(28)
91
(33)
93
(34)
98
(37)
104
(40)
108
(42)
107
(42)
111
(44)
98
(37)
87
(31)
81
(27)
110
(43)
Average high °F (°C)52.3
(11.3)
57.1
(13.9)
65.8
(18.8)
74.2
(23.4)
82.0
(27.8)
88.6
(31.4)
91.3
(32.9)
91.0
(32.8)
86.2
(30.1)
76.1
(24.5)
64.3
(17.9)
55.0
(12.8)
73.7
(23.2)
Daily mean °F (°C)41.4
(5.2)
45.4
(7.4)
53.5
(11.9)
61.6
(16.4)
70.4
(21.3)
77.7
(25.4)
80.7
(27.1)
79.8
(26.6)
73.9
(23.3)
62.6
(17.0)
51.9
(11.1)
44.2
(6.8)
61.9
(16.6)
Average low °F (°C)30.6
(−0.8)
33.8
(1.0)
41.2
(5.1)
48.9
(9.4)
58.9
(14.9)
66.8
(19.3)
70.2
(21.2)
68.6
(20.3)
61.6
(16.4)
49.2
(9.6)
39.5
(4.2)
33.3
(0.7)
50.2
(10.1)
Record low °F (°C)−13
(−25)
−10
(−23)
7
(−14)
21
(−6)
31
(−1)
43
(6)
50
(10)
48
(9)
32
(0)
20
(−7)
6
(−14)
−10
(−23)
−13
(−25)
Average precipitation inches (mm)5.13
(130)
5.82
(148)
5.61
(142)
6.30
(160)
5.35
(136)
5.22
(133)
4.35
(110)
3.90
(99)
3.99
(101)
4.10
(104)
4.30
(109)
6.45
(164)
60.52
(1,537)
Average snowfall inches (cm)0.8
(2.0)
0.2
(0.51)
0.1
(0.25)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.0
(0.0)
0.1
(0.25)
1.2
(3.0)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)12.010.811.710.311.010.210.08.87.47.99.812.2122.1
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)0.60.40.10.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.00.31.4
Source: NOAA [12] [13]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1850 492
1870 1,422
1880 1,5347.9%
1890 1,5460.8%
1900 1,82017.7%
1910 2,01410.7%
1920 2,1506.8%
1930 2,89034.4%
1940 3,43318.8%
1950 3,95615.2%
1960 5,28333.5%
1970 8,51961.3%
1980 9,88216.0%
1990 9,9841.0%
2000 11,75617.7%
2010 18,91660.9%
2020 25,41634.4%
U.S. Decennial Census [14]

2020 census

Oxford Racial Composition [15]
RaceNum.Perc.
White 16,55965.15%
Black or African American 5,65622.25%
Native American 120.05%
Asian 1,2795.03%
Pacific Islander 70.03%
Other/Mixed 8613.39%
Hispanic or Latino 1,0424.1%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 25,416 people, 10,351 households, and 5,089 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the census [16] of 2010, there were 18,916 people, with 8,648 households residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 72.3% White, 21.8% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.5% of the population. The average household size was 2.09.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,872, and the average household income was $64,643. The per capita income for the city was $29,195. [17] About 12% of families and 32.3% of the population were below the poverty line.

Arts and culture

Oxford MS, Phone Booth by City Hall Phone Booth Oxford MS.jpg
Oxford MS, Phone Booth by City Hall

Attractions

Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner Rowan Oak.JPG
Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner
Square Books Book store on the square in Oxford MS.jpg
Square Books
Lafayette County Court House Court House Oxford.jpg
Lafayette County Court House

In addition to the historic Lafayette County Courthouse, the Square is known for an abundance of locally owned restaurants, specialty boutiques, and professional offices, along with Oxford City Hall.

Culture

Historic sites

Ammadelle (1859) was designed by Central Park co-designer Calvert Vaux. Ammadelle, 637 North Lamar Boulevard, Oxford (Lafayette County, Mississippi).jpg
Ammadelle (1859) was designed by Central Park co-designer Calvert Vaux.

See also National Register of Historic Places listings in Lafayette County, Mississippi [22] and the Lyceum-The Circle Historic District, University of Mississippi.

Education

The Lyceum at the University of Mississippi Lyceumfromlibrary.JPG
The Lyceum at the University of Mississippi

The city is served by two public school districts, Oxford School District (with the majority of the area) and Lafayette County School District (with small outerlying sections). [23] The former operates Oxford High School.

It is also served by three private schools: Oxford University School, Regents School of Oxford [24] and Magnolia Montessori. Oxford is partially the home of the main campus of the University of Mississippi, known as "Ole Miss" (much of the campus is in University, Mississippi, an unincorporated enclave surrounded by the city), [25] and of the Lafayette-Yalobusha Center of Northwest Mississippi Community College. The North Mississippi Japanese Supplementary School, a Japanese weekend school, is operated in conjunction with the University of Mississippi, with classes held on campus. [26] [27]

Media

Infrastructure

Health care

The Baptist Memorial Hospital - North Mississippi, located in Oxford provides comprehensive health care services for Oxford and the surrounding area, supported by a growing number of physicians, clinics and support facilities. The North Mississippi Regional Center, a state-licensed Intermediate Care Facility for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID), is located in Oxford.

Oxford is home to the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi's School of Pharmacy. The Center is the only facility in the United States that is federally licensed to cultivate marijuana for scientific research, and to distribute it to medical marijuana patients.

Transportation

The city operates public transportation under the name Oxford-University Transit (OUT), with bus routes throughout the city and University of Mississippi campus. [30] Ole Miss students and faculty ride free upon showing University identification.

Mississippi Central Railroad provides freight rail service to the Lafayette County Industrial Park in Oxford.

University-Oxford Airport is a public use airport located two nautical miles (4 km) northwest of the central business district of Oxford. The airport is owned by the University of Mississippi.

Notable people

Oxford native William Faulkner in 1954 Carl Van Vechten - William Faulkner.jpg
Oxford native William Faulkner in 1954

Sister city

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">University of Mississippi</span> Public university in Mississippi, U.S.

The University of Mississippi is a public research university that is located adjacent to Oxford, Mississippi, and has a medical center in Jackson. It is Mississippi's oldest public university and its largest by enrollment.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pontotoc County, Mississippi</span> County in Mississippi, United States

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Lafayette County, Mississippi</span> County in Mississippi, United States

Lafayette County is a county in the U.S. state of Mississippi. At the 2010 census, the population was 47,351. Its county seat is Oxford. The local pronunciation of the name is "la-FAY-et." The county's name honors Marquis de Lafayette, a French military hero and American general who fought during the American Revolutionary War.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Oxford Courthouse Square Historic District</span> Historic district in Mississippi, United States

The Oxford Courthouse Square Historic District is a historic district located in Oxford, Mississippi, which is the county seat of Lafayette County. The district has existed since the city's incorporation in 1837, and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 2, 1980. It serves as the cultural center of Oxford, which also contains the University of Mississippi. Several notable residents have lived in Oxford whose images contribute to the popular culture of the square, such as writer William Faulkner, whose works set in the Lafayette county-inspired Yoknapatawpha prominently feature the square. The current standing courthouse was constructed in 1871 after an original temporary one was destroyed by union troops during the American Civil War in 1864.

References

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    "2020 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: Oxford city, MS" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. p. 1 (PDF p. 2/5). Retrieved August 14, 2022. Univ of Mississippi
  26. "Japanese Supplementary School." OGE-US Japan Partnership, University of Mississippi. Retrieved on February 25, 2015.
  27. "周辺案内." North Mississippi Japanese Supplementary School at The University of Mississippi. Retrieved on April 1, 2015.
  28. "The Oxford Eagle". The Oxford Eagle.
  29. "The Local Voice | The Local Voice is Oxford, Mississippi's only locally-owned newspaper, featuring local food and drink specials, entertainment, sports, and local culture. The Local Voice covers Oxford, Ole Miss, and North Mississippi". www.thelocalvoice.net.
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  31. Schnugg, Alyssa. "Sister Cities". Oxford Eagle. Archived from the original on March 29, 2015. Retrieved December 12, 2014.