Exploring Oxford's History

Did you know Oxford, Ohio is the hometown of former First Lady Caroline Scott Harrison?

Did you know Oxford, Ohio was the training site of over 800 volunteers who journeyed to Mississippi in 1964 as a civil rights movement?

Did you know Oxford, Ohio was always meant to be a college town?

Rich history abounds in Oxford, Ohio.

Historically-significant events, prominent leaders, and political movements that shape our nation's history were birthed right here in Oxford.

Among three historic districts, museums, and even Oxford's only-remaining original log cabin, there are plenty of historical sites to learn from right here in town! Enjoy stepping into the past and learning about the roots of Oxford, Ohio. We promise you'll learn something new and have a fun time!


Oxford's Self-Guided Black History Tour

Start the tour at the Bethel A.M.E Church, 14 S. Beech St.

Oxford's self-guided Black History Tour has many stops, some of which are within walking distance of each other. Overall, though, we recommend driving this tour so that you can comfortably travel to each stop on the map. It will take about an hour to complete.

This tour covers historical sites in Oxford that were important places for Oxford's Black community, from the old Town Hall (now the Oxford Police Department) where the all-Black Panthers basketball team played their games, to the old residences of prominent local figures such as Peter Bruner who freed himself from slavery in the south after fighting in the Civil War.

You can pick up a physical copy of the Black History Tour at the Enjoy Oxford office, or request to have one mailed to you. Just email your mailing address to info@enjoyoxford.org. Additionally, you can read longer descriptions of the tour stops in our blog post here.

Walking Tour of Oxford’s University Historic District

Start the tour here: Parking lot on northwest corner of E High St and Tallawanda Rd.

Oxford's University Historic District is the only district that was comprised almost entirely by residential architecture. This nine-block walking tour covers most of what was originally the University Square. Included in this tour are 33 sites that remind and inform visitors of the significance of the area in the development of the city of Oxford.

For a self-guided walking tour, pick up a brochure, complete with directions and photos at Enjoy Oxford: 14 W Park Place.

Walking tour of Oxford’s Western College for Women Historic District

Start the tour here: Peabody Hall - 701 Western College Dr.

The Western College for Women Historic District tour is entirely on Miami University’s campus and covers historical areas that were chartered in 1853 as the Western Female Seminary. This area is beautiful and one of Oxford residents' favorites! The tour includes 24 sites with descriptions of each site and biographies of the historical figures associated with many of the sites.

Included in this tour is the historically-significant Freedom Summer Memorial, just outside Peabody hall. At this site, roughly 800 volunteers trained for a journey that would take them to Mississippi to register more black voters and establish freedom schools. This is a historically significant site you won't want to miss!

For a self-guided walking tour, pick up a brochure, complete with directions and photos at Enjoy Oxford: 14 W Park Place.

Walking Tour of the Uptown Oxford Historic District

Start the tour here: Oxford Community Arts Center - 10 S College Ave.

Enjoy learning about the history of Oxford’s beloved Uptown District with this self-guided walking tour. The tour covers a 12-block span in the heart of Oxford’s Uptown District. Sites include religious, residential, commercial and recreational areas with buildings that were constructed more than 50 years ago.

Want a guided tour instead? Join in on Oxford’s Historic Preservation Month’s Guided Walking Tours on May 6, 13, 20 and 27! For more information, please check Enjoy Oxford’s calendar for more specific details closer to the time.

For a self-guided walking tour, pick up a brochure, complete with directions and photos at Enjoy Oxford: 14 W Park Place.

DeWitt Log Homestead

Find it here: 4824 Oxford Trenton Rd.

Located north off of State Route 73 is the DeWitt Log Cabin, the oldest standing log cabin in the Oxford area. Zachariah DeWitt and his family settled in the land and completed the two-story cabin in 1805. The cabin is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is cared for by the Oxford Museum Association.

When Miami trustees were looking for a place to build Miami University and visited the site in 1810, it is said that Zachariah DeWitt recommended the land west of his home, at the crest of the hill. That site is where the university is located today.

The cabin is open Sundays 12:00 - 4:00 p.m... from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Plan a visit to learn more about the rich history of the DeWitt family, their cabin and the surrounding land.

William Holmes McGuffey Museum

Find it here: 401 E Spring St.

Take a step back in history and learn more about William Holmes McGuffey, the author of the McGuffey Eclectic Reader, one of the nation’s most influential schoolbooks used by children after the Civil War. The series was written by McGuffey with the help of his brother, Alexander Hamilton McGuffey. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark in 1966, this museum is one you won’t want to miss!

Visit anytime between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m., Thursday-Saturday. For more information, please visit the museum’s website.

So go on out and explore the town, learn something new and grow in appreciation for this little town that we are so proud to call home!

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