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Lake Orion / Orion Township



Oxford Township


History

What is now known as Oxford Township was known to be the hunting ground of the Nepessing Tribe of the Chippewa Indians prior to the 1820s.  The Nepessing Tribe inhabited large areas of Oakland, Lapeer, & St. Clair counties.  From 1810 to the early 1820s numerous settlers visited the Oxford area to hunt and trap.  The first documented sale of public land was recorded in 1823 to Elbridge Deming who built a log cabin in the vicinity of M-24 and Metamora roads in the spring of 1832. 

Oxford Township was not officially created until 1836 when Michigan became a state.  Many settlers came to the area in the 1830s which was originally known as Demingsburg, Demings Corners, and Oxford Corners.  Washington officially designated the area Oxford in 1836.  Many original settlers are reflected in the names of the streets today -- Powell, Hovey, Burdick, and Axford.  Burdick was named after Dr. Burdick, the first practicing physician in the village.  The village was established in 1836.  The area flurished with commerce and industry especially in the downtown area; however, much of the area south of Burdick and west of  Washington burned to the ground in 1878.  When the buildings were rebuilt they were built of brick and masonary construction and are still standing today as a vital part of the downtown.  The 1850s, 60s, and 70s found Oxford a busy commercial center with businesses such as Oxford Carriage Factory, Oxford Machine Works, Oxford Valley Mills, Oxford Brewery, along with furniture and cabinetry shops.   

In Addition to Oxford Village, two other smaller communities developed that were key to the area.  Near Baldwin and Oakwood roads was the small community of Oakwood with a population of 200.  To the north was the small town of Thomas located east of M-24 between Thomas Road and E Street.  Thomas consisted of a railroad station (the old railroad grade still remains today), a general store, hotel, grain elevator, wagon shop, blacksmith, postmaster, and gristmill by the late 1870s.  Thomas was noted as an important shipping point, in 1874 216 car loads of wheat were shipped from there.  These two areas prospered until a mega tornado came through both Oakwood and Thomas in 1896, killing 41 people, and wiping out almost everything in each town except for the churches in each community which still stand today.  Some rebuilding was done in these areas but never did flurish as they once had.

Bruce Beemer, the famous radio voice of the Lone Ranger resided in Oxford for many years.  The street on which he lived is named after him.  His Lone Ranger collection is displayed in the Northeast Historical Museum in downtown Oxford.

Today

Oxford is now a rapidly growing community in north Oakland County with many interesting shops and delicious restaurants in its quaint downtown area.  Centennial Park features live music in the gazebo every Thursday evening during the summer months.  Fun can be found at many festivals - A Taste of Oxford, Oxford Days, and Blues and Bar-B-Q to name a few.  Downtown is a great place to have dinner, walk to the movie theatre, and then go for coffee and dessert or a late nitecap at an outside cafe afterward.  Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Christmas parades also light up the downtown area.

The township, most of which remains rural is beautifully dotted with farms and equestrian estates which have been passed down through many generations.  Many of these horse  farms are close to the Metamora Hunt area with miles of riding trails.  There are also many subdivisions, such as the new Waterstone development which has won awards for its design and features many lakefront homes in a golf community.

All residences have lake privileges on 100 acre all-sports Stoney Lake which includes a nice park and picnic area with pivillion.   There is also a designated swimming area with life guard on duty most of the summer, along with a boat launch.      

 

 


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