Oxford, Alabama

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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
Coordinates: 33°35′49″N 85°50′19″W / 33.59694°N 85.83861°W / 33.59694; -85.83861Coordinates: 33°35′49″N 85°50′19″W / 33.59694°N 85.83861°W / 33.59694; -85.83861
Country United States
State Alabama
Counties Calhoun, Talladega
 • Mayor Alton Craft
 • Total 31.19 sq mi (80.78 km2)
 • Land 30.86 sq mi (79.93 km2)
 • Water 0.33 sq mi (0.85 km2)
Elevation 656 ft (200 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 21,348
 • Estimate (2016)[2] 21,120
 • Density 677.14/sq mi (261.45/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 www.oxfordalabama.org

Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census,[4] 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.


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.[4]

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, in 1852.[5] 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.[6]

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. 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 unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 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]

On April 26, 2016, Oxford unanimously approved a bathroom bill making it illegal to enter the restroom of a person's opposite gender to what is stated on their birth certificate.[9] On May 4, 2016, in a 3-2 vote, the city rescinded it.[10]


Oxford features a mayor-council form of government, though the mayor actually dictates the daily running of the city. Replacing Mayor Leon Smith who retired from office after his eighth term (began in 1984), is Alton Craft, who has been the Finance Director for Oxford for over two decades. 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). The mayor and city council members are elected to four-year terms (coinciding with presidential election years).

Oxford Police Department[edit]

The city maintains a sixty-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.[11]

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.[12]


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.[13]

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.

Oxford at dusk


The city's growth in recent years can be attributed mainly to the presence of Interstate 20 and Oxford's central location between Atlanta and Birmingham. The Quintard Mall is the only fully enclosed shopping mall between Birmingham and Douglasville, Georgia. Several other shopping centers dot the landscape of Oxford with the most recent being the construction of the Oxford Commons which is just off exit 188 on Interstate 20.


Major highways passing through Oxford include:


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 780
1890 1,473 88.8%
1900 1,372 −6.9%
1910 1,090 −20.6%
1920 1,108 1.7%
1930 1,206 8.8%
1940 1,393 15.5%
1950 1,697 21.8%
1960 3,603 112.3%
1970 4,361 21.0%
1980 8,939 105.0%
1990 9,362 4.7%
2000 14,592 55.9%
2010 21,348 46.3%
Est. 2016 21,120 [2] −1.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
2013 Estimate[15]

As of the census of 2010, there were 21,348 people, 8,072 households, and 5,955 families residing in the city. The population density was 688 people per square mile (265.9/km²). There were 8,806 housing units at an average density of 284 per square mile (109.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.5% White, 12.6% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. 6.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,072 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% are married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the city, the population was spread out with 25.2% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 26.8% from 25 to 44, 26.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.8 years. For every 100 females there were 93.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $47,928, and the median income for a family was $53,612. Males had a median income of $46,008 versus $30,231 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,815. About 10.8% of families and 13.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.3% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest[edit]


  • 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)

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jun 22, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2014-06-07. 
  4. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Oxford city, Alabama". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved June 2, 2014. 
  5. ^ Alabama Encyclopedia
  6. ^ Old borders based on Andriot, John L. Township Atlas of the United States (McLean, Virginia: Andriot Associates, 1979) p. 17
  7. ^ Claire M. Wilson, of Auburn University, Alabama Encyclopedia, retrieved 5Dec2014
  8. ^ The Story of the Progress and Achievements of the Negro in the Art of Self Government, by Ross Blackmon, published in 1947
  9. ^ Thornton, William (2016-04-26). "Oxford approves transgender bathroom ordinance with threat of $500 fine, 6 months in jail". The Birmingham News. Retrieved 2016-04-29. 
  10. ^ Thornton, William (May 4, 2016). "Oxford City Council rescinds transgender restroom ordinance". al.com. Alabama Media Group. Retrieved May 5, 2016. 
  11. ^ http://www.oxfordpd.org
  12. ^ Small-Town Cops Pile Up on Useless Military Gear, by Lorenzo Francechi-Biccierai, Wired Magazine Danger Room, 26 June 2012
  13. ^ http://www.oxford.k12.al.us Oxford City Schools
  14. ^ United States Census Bureau. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved November 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013". Retrieved June 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]