Friday, April 20, 2018
Spring Break, Part 4 - Oxford, Georgia
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
In our recent travels to Oxford, Georgia, to visit my mother, my granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I decide to take a walk from the Hopkins House, Mom's home, down to the Old Church, less than a quarter mile away.
For those of you unfamiliar with the town of Oxford, it was founded in 1836 as a Methodist community, with a small college, Emory (1837). The name "Oxford" was chosen in honor of the alma mater of both John and Charles Wesley. Surveyor and Methodist minister, Edward Lloyd Thomas (1825-1852) designed the layout of the town, with all roads leading to the college.
The aforementioned Hopkins House (1841) was once the home of Isaac Stiles Hopkins (1841-1914), professor, Methodist minister, and scientist, who served for a time as Emory's president, and later, due to his keen interest in technology, was appointed president of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). My parents purchase the home in 2003. As my father, too, was a scientist, professor, and Dean of Emory's Oxford College, I'd say the Hopkins legacy lives on!
The Old Church is my favorite Oxford landmark. Although it is no longer used for regular church services, it is available for special events such as weddings, concerts and funerals. It is where Dad's memorial service is held in 2014. Built in 1841 as a chapel for Emory College students, it underwent a thorough renovation in 1996, and was reopened in 1999, while Dad was still the dean. The monument featured here stands on the Old Church's holy ground; the inscription includes the verse from Proverbs quoted above.
Behind the Old Church stands Kitty's Cottage.
As I do not get a decent shot of it, I borrow the photo from this website, which offers a brief history of the slave, Kitty Andrew, whose ownership by a Methodist bishop by the name of James O. Andrew, stirred up a huge schism between the Methodist churches in the North and South. Here is Virginia reading all about it.
But much more than history, Virginia loves exploring the outdoors. The nature trail behind Kitty's Cottage is a spur that leads to the major path, which extends from the college to the Oxford city limits. This, too, is another goal set by my father for the community while he is dean, and later, mayor (a job he reluctantly took). Thankfully, he lived to see it completed. Virginia and I take the shorter route back to West Soule Street, where the Hopkins House sits.
Although I only snap a side view of the President's House, this is where my parents lived when Dad was the dean for twelve years.
It was built in 1836 by Emory's first president, Ignatius Few (such a quaint name), and has been home to countless presidents and deans ever since, not without some major renovations, however. In fact, one of Dad's bargaining chips in accepting the job of dean at Oxford College is his insistence that Emory University completely restore the residence. And I can't begin to describe to you how much that old house needed some love! My family and I have such treasured memories of this beautiful home.
Virginia's and my field trip gives only a small sampling of Oxford's rich and unique history. In this day and time, when it seems folks would rather dismantle our country's history than preserve it for future generations, Oxford is a refreshing place, where old mingles with new, and the landmarks our forefathers set still remain.
May they never be moved.
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