The area was first settled by Native Americans. The first English name given to the community that would later be called Oxford was Hood's Crossing, after the local Hood's Tavern. The borough was later called Oxford Crossing and Oxford Village. Oxford was located near the half-way point on the main road from Philadelphia to Baltimore. The owner of the stage between the two cities purchased Hood's Tavern and re-named it Oxford Hotel. It became the stopping point on the two-day trip between the two cities.
In 1833, Oxford was incorporated as a borough. Its first burgess (now called the mayor) was Thomas Alexander, who operated a general store in which the oldest public library in Pennsylvania was located. His store is thought to be the oldest building in Oxford.
The northern half of Oxford was owned by the Dickey family in the 19th century. The Dickeys included the local Presbyterian minister, the founder of the local bank, a state Representative, and local businessmen. Reverend John Miller Dickey and his wife Sarah Emlen Cresson founded Ashmun Institute in 1854 which later became Lincoln University. The family played a major role in re-routing the planned railroad connecting Philadelphia and Baltimore. Track was laid in the 1850s, and by the time of the Civil War, Oxford was a bustling community. The business district on Third Street was entirely re-built at this time, including the Oxford Hotel (1858) and Oxford Hall (1862). Oxford became known for its confectionery and candy businesses and was the location of many manufacturing facilities.
In the late 20th century, transportation changes resulted in Oxford being located off the main roads. A bypass was constructed for U.S. Route 1, but the major change was the construction of Interstate 95 - which shifted the bulk of the Philadelphia-Baltimore traffic away from Oxford. Nevertheless, Oxford's population has continued to grow in population with almost every census, and as of 2010, 5,077 people were counted.
SCCOOT (+1 610-993-0911) is a bus service that travels from Oxford to West Chester, Monday through Friday (except holidays). SCCOOT connects to SEPTA Route 92, SEPTA Route 104 and Krapf's "A" Bus at the West Chester Transportation Center. The fare is either one-zone ($3.50) or two-zone ($4.50) (50% discount for people with disabilities) (May 2017).
Oxford is about halfway between Philadelphia and Baltimore — about 55 miles from Philadelphia, 1-1.25 hours' drive in good traffic, and about 60 miles from Baltimore and 1-1.5 hours' drive in good traffic. "In good traffic" is always a doubtful expression on the Eastern Corridor, though, so allow extra time.
You may choose to speed up your drive by using the I-95 toll road for part of your trip, but you will end up on the old Federal Highway 1 in the end. Route 1 serves the city, though it does bypass Downtown.
Once you are in Downtown, everything there is walkable for a person of ordinary fitness in tolerable weather, although the Historic District is large enough (well over a mile from north to south and east to west) that you could consider moving the car once or a few times if you would like to walk through the entire district.
Oxford has a large Historic District, containing the buildings listed here and various others.
- Oxford Presbyterian Church. Probably the town's single most famous sight, as the steeple can be seen a long distance away. Destroyed by fire in 1989 but since restored.
- The Oxford Town Clock, 24 S 3rd St (Corner of E Locust St). The clock is on the National Penn Bank building, now taken over by BB&T, and was restored in 2001.
- Union Fire Company No. 1. Formerly called the Dickey Building, this is a historic and renovated building that still houses the town's fire department.
- 1 Pine Grove Covered Bridge, Route 36018. 204 ft (62 m) bridge over the Octoraro Creek, built in 1816 and rebuilt in 1846 and 1884.
- Oxford Memorial Park, 100 Lancaster Pike (At 3rd St). Daily 8AM to dusk. This park has several picnic areas, plus a picnic pavilion. It also has a playground. Street parking is available. Free admission.
- Camp Saginaw. A summer sleepaway camp for boys and girls aged 6-18.
There are many antique shops and thrift stores in Oxford. It also has flea markets, many small shops and an art gallery.
- Eldreth Pottery, 902 Hart Rd, ☏ , toll-free: . Jan 2-Oct 31: M-F 9AM-5PM, Sa 10AM-5PM; Nov 1-Dec 23: 9AM-5PM. This is their factory, where they produce salt-glazed handmade stoneware using traditional Pennsylvania Dutch methods. You can watch the pottery being made, and pieces are for sale in their showroom.
- Neuchatel Swiss Chocolates, 461 Limestone Road, ☏ . M-F 8AM-6PM; Sa 10AM-4PM; Su noon-4PM; additional hours by appointment. Truffles and other chocolate items. Owner is from Switzerland.
- Bellybusters Sub Shoppe, 2139 Old Baltimore Pike, ☏ , ✉ BellyBustersSubShoppes@yahoo.com. Su-Th: 11:00AM-9:00PM; F-Sa: 11:00AM-10:00PM. Locally well-regarded sub shop. Eat in or take out. Subs and cheese steaks: Small:$5.99; Large:$7.99-9.99; Bellybuster: $14.99-15.99; Wraps: $6.99.
- Sawmill Grill, 306 Market St, ☏ . Daily, 11:00AM - 12:00AM. Seems to be the most mentioned American restaurant in town. Prices are gentle - for example, a 6-ounce filet of sirloin with 2 sides for $12.99, and all desserts are $5.
- Ugly Mutt Bar and Restaurant, 562 Lincoln St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Daily, 11:00AM - 12:00AM. This bar is known locally for having good microbrews on tap. Opinion is split on their bar food. Per their website, kids eat free every Tuesday.
- Octoraro Hotel, 2 S 3rd St, ☏ . Look for the "OTE" sign. Sports bar on ground floor.
|Routes through Oxford|
|Philadelphia ← West Grove ←||N S||→ Bel Air → Baltimore|