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Above find a rare aerial photo of Oxford, circa Nov 4, 1949. It's hard to navigate at this resolution, so we have included a very large picture for you. You can examine this picture in detail by clicking on it. It will load a 1.2 meg super sized photo. Even using high speed internet, it will take a little while, so be patient. You'll be amazed at the detail! Especially for old timers, this is a tremendous blast from the past. We are grateful to the Oxford Library for this print which resides in the history room. Click their link to visit their page. You'll be amazed at their services!




  Calhoun County, Alabama is the modern home to Anniston, Oxford, Piedmont, Jacksonville, and many other smaller entities, places, and things.
     In earlier times, smaller towns and even settlements played a larger role in area life than they do these days as populations and priorities shifted. For example, early on, Jacksonville was the county seat.
     The area has been home to people for thousands of years, which is proven by the odd arrowhead you can still find in freshly plowed fields along our rivers and creeks. As one population died out, got pushed out, or was assimilated, a new civilization would arrive.
     Just prior to the coming of the white man, the land we live on was being used by Indians. Calhoun County was a border area on the line between the Cherokee and Creek Indians. Calhoun County was Creek territory. The late president Andy Jackson traveled through the area, was befriended by the Indians, and later killed quite a few of them, and sent the rest packing in the early 1830's.

     Calhoun County and the surrounding area was home to several Indian towns. Names you know today like Hillabee, Tallapoosa, Cheaha, and many others come down to us from those days.The Indian story, in particular, needs to be told. Just within the time of the white man, there are facinating Indian stories of bravery, sacrifice, love, and betrayal, all the elements of good books. Most Calhoun Countians, at least of a certain age are quite familiar with the Cheyenne, Sioux, and Apache Indians of the west, but few  know the stories of the Creeks and Cherokees that trod the land they now call home.
 Left, famous Creek Indian, Alexander Mcgillivray, and right, Andrew Jackson. Both men walked the hills and hollows of Calhoun County in their lives

     One interesting and little known fact is that prior to the coming of the white man, the area we call south Quintard was a huge lake, and Quintard would have been the lake bottom. The dam was where the bridge is today that separates Oxford and Anniston. Wagon tracks from settlers eroded the hill so badly that it finally failed and the lake drained...hence you can travel via road between Oxford and Anniston instead of by ferry.
     There is a tremendous amount of local history and knowledge that is basically unknown by our modern day residents, even though it exists here and there, if one is willing to dig for it. There isn't a place that you can put your foot that hasn't been trod upon by other men in millennia past. Just as we look up to the stars in heaven and wonder, so we look to the past and marvel.

Are you an armchair historian? Submissions of feature stories about our area history is gratefully accepted here at your website. If you have information you would be willing to share with others about area history, we'll make place for it. Visit our "About" page for details! Don't be shy!

Certain dates and information to follow was taken from the works of Bessie Coleman, 1898-1989, an amateur historian who chronicled area history. A collection of her work can be seen at the Public Library in Anniston.    

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     Calhoun County was originally known as Benton County in honor of Thomas Benton (left), a politico of the early days of Alabama. Later, the name was changed to Calhoun (right)  in favor of the southern firebrand, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. Looking around the south today, it seems that naming counties and towns after Calhoun was very popular.


     Previously, the land had been owned by the Creek Indians. However, as early as 1832 with the signing of the Treaty of Cusseta, they knew their time was limited, and indeed, they were removed, many forcibly, by 1837. It is said that some sold their land multiple times to early settlers before they left which caused much consternation in the county seat in Jacksonville when it came time to parcel out deeds.
     With the coming of the Civil war, Oxford, which had been called Lickskillet, came briefly to prominence when there was constructed the Oxford Iron Works which was subsequently deconstructed by a Yankee regiment near the end of the war about the time Sherman was marching through Georgia.
     In July 1883 Annie's Town, Anniston, was formerly dedicated. It was thoughtfully laid out by a man by the name of Samuel Noble. Prior to the ceremony, the fabulous pine forests which covered the area were cut down and used for homes and as fuel to make charcoal to fire the the local iron furnaces. Anniston was began as an iron making town and a model city for the iron workers, shop keepers, and support businesses.
     Eventually the vast production of metal was turned to cast iron soil pipe, and Anniston produced more than anyone else in the world. This lasted well into the 60's until with the coming of new technologies, competition, and plastic, our pipe plants either diversified or closed down completely.
     Over the years Calhoun County has seen many many changes. While the Anniston Army Depot remains, Fort McClellan is gone, and while Monsanto now has a new name, its history lingers. Nowadays technology and service industries are replacing pipe shops and yarn mills. One can only wonder what it will look like in another 50 years.
Written by Norman Morrison

Community Challenge: Can you identify buildings in the picture at the top of this page? Do you recognize the train depot and the old picture show? How about the school stadium? Let us know if you would like to take on the pleasant chore of putting names on the picture and we'll make you an armchair historian.

Add YOUR Calhoun County community, town, or city to our historical pages!!
Submission of interesting information or pictures always encouraged!

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