In 1754 you could stumble upon this tiny village if you were traveling the roads that crossed through it from Philadelphia, Baltimore, or Lancaster. Colonial travelers did just that and found accommodations in a small inn called “Hood’s Tavern” which at its inception, was the village’s only welcoming structure. The little community in Southern Chester County, halfway between Baltimore and Philadelphia, was officially named Oxford and the borough incorporated on April 8th, 1833.
“First, the lonely cabin in the wilderness; second, the struggling, straggling village; third, the ambitious borough, and fourth, the rushing city?”
John T. Kelly captured these words in print about Oxford, Pennsylvania, Written in 1894.
The borough enjoyed booming business and prosperity until about the beginning of the century when the village realized it was in an economic standstill. It thus never achieved the status of a “rushing city,” prophesied by the late Kelly. Like many other boroughs influenced but the advance of automobiles and highways, businesses and retail gradually left. By the late 1970s local merchants found that customers traveled outside the business district to do their shopping. Oxford’s main streets remained home to fewer merchants, empty storefronts and short-lived businesses – a look and experience that was occurring in many America’s small towns.
Today, Oxford has regained momentum. The Borough’s main streets are home to many fine shops and businesses and the streets are clean and friendly. Although the Borough is self–sustaining, it enjoys being the hub of five surrounding townships and municipalities. The population of the Oxford area is about 18,000 and is considered a community rich in family values and neighborly pride. The leadership of yesterday continues today, as Oxford once again envisions itself as the “ambitious borough.” With its rich history and determined community, “the promise of Oxford” is alive.