The Town Tours and Village Walks in Chester County, PA, came up with another hit last week in Oxford, Pennsylvania, a town of 5000 people, founded in 1833, and simply overflowing with historic buildings.
The northern half of Oxford was owned by the Dickey family in the 19th century. The Dickeys included the local Presbyterian minister, the Mr O'Malley 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, and which later became Lincoln University. The family played a major role in re-routing the new Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad (P&BC) through Oxford. Track was laid in the 1850s. The railroad reached Oxford in 1860 and later connected to Philadelphia and Baltimore. 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).
One of the great things about the town is that the main street has been so well preserved. The man who owned the jewelry shop (see stained glass façade) said that when he bought the building, it had been covered with 1950's glass tiles. Another shopkeeper told him he had the original stained glass in his basement, which was restored and placed back on the building. The town clock was restored in 2001 (at top). A woman who had been going through receipts from a business that had been owned by the Simon family gave us Mrs. Simon's Peach Cake recipe (with some modern notes* see below). The gentleman in spats standing in front of the vault door has recently bought this old bank building and is moving his brokerage business there in the near future.
So Oxford is not only about the PAST, but the FUTURE!
If you are interested in relocating to Oxford, take a look at homes for sale in Oxford, Pennsylvania.
*I scanned Mrs. Simon’s recipe, but it is hard to read.
Mrs. Simon’s Peach Cake Oxford
¼ lb. butter, ¾ C sugar, Cream together
2 eggs, Beat in thoroughly
2 cups flour, 2 t B.P., ¼ t salt Sift together
1 t vanilla Add to above
Slice 3 peaches. After putting cake in pan, spread over top with sliced peaches. Squeeze juice of ½ lemon and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
The woman who gave us the recipe added her own instructions:
Spray a 9 x 13 or 7 x 12 baking pan with cooking spray. Spread the stiff dough evenly over the bottom. Lay sliced unpeeled raw peaches on top. Sprinkle them with the lemon and some lemon zest and 2 T cinnamon sugar or 2 T sugar & ¾ t cinnamon. Try 350 degrees for 10 min., then 325 for 45 min.