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Oxford, Alabama

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Oxford, Alabama

Oxford, Alabama
Downtown Oxford
Downtown Oxford
Official seal of Oxford, Alabama
Nickname(s): Crossroads to the Future
Location in Calhoun County and Alabama
Location in Calhoun County and Alabama
Country United States
State Alabama
Counties Calhoun, Talladega
 • Mayor Leon Smith
 • Total 31.0 sq mi (80.3 km2)
 • Land 30.7 sq mi (79.4 km2)
 • Water 0.3 sq mi (0.9 km2)
Elevation 656 ft (200 m)
Population (2013 est.)
 • Total 21,232
 • Density 694/sq mi (267.9/km2)
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
ZIP code 36203
Area code(s) 256/938
FIPS code 01-57576
GNIS feature ID 0160330
Website .org.oxfordalabamawww

Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census,[1] an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.


  • Geography 1
  • History 2
  • Government 3
    • Oxford Police Department 3.1
  • Education 4
  • Economy 5
  • Transportation 6
  • Demographics 7
  • Points of interest 8
  • Media 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Oxford is located at (33.597105, -85.838881).[2]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.0 square miles (80.3 km2), of which 30.7 square miles (79.4 km2) is land and 0.35 square miles (0.9 km2), or 1.07%, is water.[1]

Oxford lies among the foothills at the southern end of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Nearby Cheaha Mountain is Alabama's highest point and offers expansive views of the surrounding wilderness and the city below. Much of the city's southern border is shared with the Talladega National Forest.

Major bodies of water include Oxford Lake, Lake Hillabee, Snows Creek and Choccolocco Creek, which bisects the city.

View from Pulpit Rock on Cheaha Mountain. Oxford lies just in front of Coldwater Mountain in the distance.


Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated (1852.[3] When the town was formed, it was originally named Lick Skillet. The name was later changed to "Oxford" 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. 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.[4]

Areas now within Oxford were occupied for millennia by native Americans. A stone mound in the southeastern part of the city has recently been the subject of controversy. It sits atop a highly visible hill overlooking Interstate 20 and the newest shopping area. Soil removal was underway from the hill near the stone mound, when controversy began as to whether the site might be destroyed. A dispute exists among archeologists as to whether the mound is ancient and Native American. State Historical officials have said the mound is over 1000 years old, but the position of the City's archeologist is that the stone mound is not ancient. The stone mound itself had not been damaged by the recent work, but the excavation on the hill below has caused many to believe the entire hill was the "mound," thus causing continuing uncertainty among some[who?] as to the possibility of damage having been done to a possible site of historic significance.[5][6]

A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford, Alabama. 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, Alabama. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptible to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, much like a Gerymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated 16Aug1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish American War.[7] The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).[8]


Oxford features a mayor-council form of government, though the mayor actually dictates the daily running of the city. Mayor Leon Smith is currently serving his eighth term, having been elected to the post in 1984. The five-member council includes Phil Gardner (Place 1), Charlotte Hubbard (Place 2), Mike Henderson (Place 3), Chris Spurlin (Place 4), and Steven Waits (Place 5). Waits serves as the council president. The mayor and city council members are elected to four-year terms (coinciding with presidential election years).

Oxford Police Department

The city maintains a fifty-man police department. The agency is divided into a Uniform Division, a Criminal Investigation Division, and a Special Investigations Division. The department also has an Emergency Services Unit and a Traffic Homicide Unit. An Honor Guard was recently created for special ceremonies.[9]

The department is equipped with a military-surplus armored vehicle, sniper and assault rifles as well as military-style helmets. The department is headed by Chief Bill Partridge.[10]


Oxford's public schools are administered by the Oxford City School System. There are currently four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. A new Freshman Academy building, for the ninth grade of Oxford High School, opened in January 2009. A new Oxford High School building opened in August 2010. As well as a new Technical Building to be finished by the end of 2014. The official Board of Education website is Oxford City Schools.

Oxford High School has an approximate enrollment of 1,002 students and is classified as a Class 6A school. Oxford City Schools offer excellent educational opportunities. Oxford High School's current principal is Chris Cox. Oxford City Schools current superintendent is Dr. Jeff Goodwin.


The city's growth in recent years can be attributed mainly to the presence of Douglasville, Georgia. Several other shopping centers dot the landscape of Oxford with the most recent being the construction of the Oxford Exchange, which is just off exit 188 on Interstate 20.


Major highways passing through Oxford include:

  • Interstate 20
  • US Highway 78
  • US Highway 431
  • State Route 21
  • State Route 202


Oxford at dusk

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,592 people, 5,734 households, and 4,231 families residing in the city. The population density was 800.1 people per square mile (308.9/km²). There were 6,280 housing units at an average density of 340.5 per square mile (131.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.46% White, 9.88% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 1.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,734 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% are married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $40,397, and the median income for a family was $47,891. Males had a median income of $34,838 versus $21,897 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,923. About 6.8% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.3% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest


  • org/truth/ Truth Radio WTBJ-FM 91.3 (Christian Radio)
  • WTDR-FM 92.7 (Country)
  • WVOK-FM 97.9 (Adult Contemporary)
  • WVOK-AM 1580 (Oldies)
  • The Anniston Star (25,000 circulation daily newspaper)
  • Oxford Independent (weekly newspaper)
  • Insight (a bi-monthly entertainment and event paper serving Oxford and Calhoun county)


  1. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Oxford city, Alabama". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  2. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  3. ^ Alabama Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Old borders based on Andriot, John L. Township Atlas of the United States (McLean, Virginia: Andriot Associates, 1979) p. 17
  5. ^ University of Alabama report hosted by the Aniston Star. Visited May 20, 2013.
  6. ^ ' When Scholarship and Tribal Heritage Face Off Against Commerce', New York Times. March 12, 2010. Visited May 20, 2013
  7. ^ Claire M. Wilson, of Auburn University, Alabama Encyclopedia, retrieved 5Dec2014
  8. ^ The Story ofhe Progress and Achievements of the Negro in the Art of Self Government, by Ross Blackmon, published in 1947
  9. ^
  10. ^ Small-Town Cops Pile Up on Useless Military Gear, by Lorenzo Francechi-Biccierai, Wired Magazine Danger Room, 26 June 2012
  11. ^  
  12. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 

External links

  • City of Oxford official website
  • Oxford City Schools
  • Oxford Police Department
  • Oxford News
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