"b1bob goes to Oxford...North Carolina" Oxford by b1bob

Oxford Travel Guide: 13 reviews and 31 photos

If y'all were looking for Oxford, England. I'm sorry, folks, this is Oxford, NORTH CAROLINA.

Granville County, North Carolina is in the northern portion of central North Carolina bordering Virginia. It was named for John Carteret, the Earl of Granville, as part of a land grant by King Charles II. This land became Granville County, NC in 1746 when it split off from Edgecombe County, home of present-day Rocky Mount, NC. The first county seat was called Granville Court House. In 1748, the location became unsatisfactory. Therefore, they moved the courthouse on a branch of Tar River called Tabb's Creek. Oxford was made the county seat in 1811 and incorporated in 1816. One of three signers of the Declaration of Independence for North Carolina, John Penn, came from Granville County. By 1860, the plantations grew large crops of tobacco with the help of a lot of slaves. Although Granville County had as many as 10.000 slaves, there were quite a lot of free blacks including dozens of craftsmen and stonemasons who helped build the big houses of the richer families. The fall of the plantation economy after the War of Northern Aggression only changed how the tobacco crop was cultivated. Instead of slaves, they used hired labour, renters and sharecroppers. With the coming of the railroad and tobacco warehouses, new towns of Stovall, Stem and Creedmoor sprung up along these rail lines. Bright Tobacco brought business to Oxford where many merchants and professionals set up shop. New schools, churches, literary societies, and two orphanages were formed. By the end of the 19th century, this new economy created the beautiful brick downtown you see today. At one time, it included as many as 3 banks, general and hardware stores, and even an opera house. Camp Butner was created after World War II which is now a federal prison. Since the 1950s factories sprung up across the county, mainly around Oxford and Creedmoor. After almost 300 years, Granville County no longer has a primary agricultural economy. At the end of the 20th century, Granville County has almost 50.000 people (almost 9.000 in the town of Oxford). Despite the changes since Granville County's formation, most natives still regard Oxford as a nice place to live. It is sure enough a nice place to visit.

On 7 September 2002, I revisited the small town of Oxford, NC, just 20 miles (33 km.) southeast of Virgilina, VA. (Coming from I-85, take exit 204.) I had been there many times before, but this was definitely the first time I had visited since becoming a member of V.T. That doesn't really matter because I noticed very little change in Oxford since my childhood.

I have a couple of funny stories related to Oxford:

I was near Dortmund, Germany Germany and my friend Stefan's girlfriend Simone apparently couldn't understand my Southern dialect. She demanded that I speak Oxford English. I told her, "I already am...I speak Oxford, NORTH CAROLINA English!"

On 26 November 1976, the day after Thanksgiving, my Mama, Grandma Atkins, and (then) baby brother went shopping in nearby Butner. There used to be a fabric mill (that I think has since gone out of business.) and they shopped and it seemed, at least to this (then) 7-year old boy to take forever. On the way back, we passed through Oxford. The fan belt on Grandma's 1970 Plymouth Gran Fury (an old police car) broke. The good news is, it was right in front of an auto dealership. The bad news is, since it wasn't a Chrysler-Plymouth dealership, it took awhile and there was no heat and it was cold outside, and there was no place to change my brother's nappy. It probably seemed to take longer than it actually did, but time sure dragged on at the pace of snail mail that day. People at the dealership were as friendly as they could be and sent us on our way up Route 96 as quickly as possible.

Oxford brings to mind a 1988 song by Moe Bandy called "Americana".

In May, 2007, I showed Lee gipper84 the architecture of Oxford, North Carolina during the lull in the Summerfest.

The day after Thanksgiving in 2008, my grandma, my mama, and I decided to do some Black Friday (retail holiday the day after Thanksgiving) shopping there, but instead of waking up with the chickens queuing up outside the big box chain retailers, we decided to visit this small town and patronise locally-owned shops who were more vulnerable to the economic downturn that was happening at the time.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Oxford is a friendly town where folks still take the time to speak to one another.
  • Cons:Even though it's a stone's throw from the fast lane, few people stop to appreciate it.
  • In a nutshell:It deserves at least a short detour off the interstate.
  • Last visit to Oxford: Nov 2008
  • Intro Updated May 4, 2013
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Reviews (12)

Comments (29)

  • Dec 8, 2008 at 5:34 AM

    A lot of information like all your websites!

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2008 at 8:57 AM

    I think I could go for a frankfurter over the counter right about now... its lunch time!

  • Raimix's Profile Photo
    Jun 14, 2006 at 7:57 AM

    Nice page! I liked thing that people are very friendly! I want to see such small American towns! ;) Raimundas.

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    Apr 29, 2006 at 3:27 PM

    When you said Oxford, I wasn't expecting this! If you spoke about a drug lunch in the UK, you wouldn't be getting a hot dog...

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2005 at 12:29 PM

    What a delight, Nat, to read about a small town that still has places to shop, restaurants, and that wonderful Jone's Discount Drug Store and Lunch Counter. That's the America I cherish. Thanks for making such a wonderful group of pages.

  • muddybok's Profile Photo
    Jun 22, 2004 at 8:49 PM

    Wow! I like the Ashton's. The drug store also looks classic. Great page & very lengthy intro. Hahaha!!!!

  • sim1's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2004 at 3:03 PM

    Nice page Nat! Great to see that not all has changed in this little old town. Sounds like it is worth the detour to me; just to experience a bit of that 'old town' feeling.

  • l_joo's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2004 at 12:20 PM

    Hasn't yet decimated by chain stores, looks good to me. And I think you can put a link to a .wav file so that viewer can listen to what is your version of Oxford English.

  • dr.firas's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2003 at 10:32 PM

    Fantastic intro and fantastic tips esepcially that one : one step back in time! Great Oxford Nat!

  • jide08's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2003 at 7:11 AM

    Very interesting.

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