A Short History of Oxford, Indiana

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The article below is presented by the sexual abuse lawyers of Oxford. We encourage residents and visitors to learn more about the history of the town and its historical features.

Brief History of Oxford

Oxford is a town within the Oak Grove Township of Benton County, Indiana. Part of the Lafayette, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area, it was established in 1843 on land donated by Henry W. Ellsworth and David Atkinson. The Indiana General Assembly's commissioners had selected the site as the seat of Benton County, making it the first town of the county. First named Milroy to honor Samual Milroy, one of the commissioners, its name was changed to Hartford in October 1843, and then Oxford in December of the same year.

As lots were being sold, a two-story, wooden frame courthouse was built. Designed by Francis Boynton, it was the first building erected in the town. Soon, a hotel was constructed by Henry L. Ellsworth and operated by James L. Hatton. The first home to be built in Oxford was that of Aaron Wood. On July 7, 1869, the Town of Oxford was incorporated. In 1874, its county seat status was moved to Fowler. As of the 2019 census estimate, Oxford has a population of 1,149 people.

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David S. Heath House

David S. Heath House is a historic home in Oxford. Also known as Heath-Steele-Gretencord House and The Green House, it was constructed in 1908 by George S. Brown. The two-and-a-half-story home featuring a one-story wraparound porch is of the Queen Anne architectural style. On September 17, 1999, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Also located on the property is contributing two-story carriage house.

Oxford Presbyterian Church

The Oxford Presbyterian Church is a historic church in Oxford. Designed by architect W. F. Sharpe, it was built in 1902 by the Steele Brothers. The presbyterian church is a one-and-a-half-story brick building of the Romanesque Revival architectural style. Featuring a gable roof, it also includes a three-story, square corner tower with a pyramidal roof. On March 1, 1984, it was added to the NRHP as Presbyterian Church Building.  The former church is now preserved as a community center and operates as a local history museum called the Oak Grove Heritage House.

Dan Patch

Dan Patch was a notable American Standardbred pacer. Possibly the most famous native of Oxford, he was undefeated in open competition and had set the world record for the fastest mile by a harness horse until 1960. After his death on July 11, 1916, Dan Patch was inducted, in 1953, into the Harness Racing Museum & Hall of Fame. In 2019, he was also inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. The American film, The Great Dan Patch, tells the story of the horse's origins and rise to fame. He is also celebrated and honored at the annual Dan Patch Days festival in the town.

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