A Self-Guided Driving or Walking Tour
The town, named Oxford in honor of John and Charles Wesley’s alma mater in England, was chartered in 1839. The town was designed by Edward Lloyd Thomas, a Methodist minister and surveyor. Its 125 lots were offered on a 999 year lease with the provision that “no intoxicating liquors shall be sold nor any game of hazard be allowed on the lots under penalty of forfeiture.” These lots were later sold for private ownership. The original streets were all named for notable Methodists. More than twenty 19th century buildings and sites related to Methodism are still standing and can be seen on this tour. Although commercialism was discouraged, old Oxford did have several small business enterprises to accommodate the townspeople. The first Coca-Cola sold outside of Atlanta was in one of Oxford’s general stores. A mule drawn trolley (the old trolley barn was at Wesley and Fletcher Streets) provided public transportation between Oxford and its neighbor, the City of Covington. It is impossible to be in the small town of Oxford and not learn a little of Georgia’s Methodist history. The entire town, including Oxford College, was designated a Shrine of the United Methodist Church in 1972, the first town in the country to be so designated.