The Granville County Historical Society Museum opened in 1996 in the county's old jail building. The museum operated there for 4 years until acquiring a larger facility. In 2000, the jail site closed and the Harris Exhibit Hall opened. The old jail building was reopened in 2006 as the Granville County History Museum which shows a permanent exhibit of Granville County history. The Granville County museum, in the 1860 jail building displays exhibits on education, architecture, agriculture, military history, tobacco and culture of early Granville County. The tobacco exhibit not only explains how the labour-intensive crop is picked, but how it is cured. On exhibit is the aroma of the unlit gold leaf, a recording of an old tobacco auction, and even clerking tickets from one of those auctions. The moonshine still exhibit is generally true. The law enforcement did raid and bust the stills of those who made a bad or a dangerous product, but the exhibit forgot to say, and I know this for a fact because my Grand Uncle Scaly routinely got away with making moonshine in Granville County (selling it in at least 3 other counties), if it was a good product, they would generally look the other way except at election time. I'll bet them lunch at Jones' lunch counter that it's true all over the area.
The Harris Exhibit Hall changes exhibits every 3-6 months. It frequently offers hands-on science exhibits as well as history, art, and culture. Here, you can find the gift shop and an archival room. A friendly staff of volunteers are ready to greet you and answer any questions you might have. Visiting both museums will offer enlightening information about the history of Oxford and the whole of Granville County.
Oxford became the county seat for Granville County in 1811, the county seat before that was Granville Courthouse. The current courthouse was completed in 1840. The courthouse was constructed in a Greek Revival style. The courthouse has expanded down through the years, but the formal courtroom is in the older portion on the second floor.
Most of the houses built from the Revolution through to the 1900s show a preference for frame construction rather than brick, stone, or log. As Granville County became more affluent, the style of architecture changed. The Georgian and Federal styles were prominent from the Revolution through to the 1830s. This is a sharp contrast to that of the late 19th and early 20th century (Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Eastlake). These newer styles made for more elabourate and ornate homes more prominent in town than in the country. If you are keen on architecture, take a walking or driving tour. The Granville County Museum offers maps of the most architecturally prominent buildings in town. For me, the hardest part is picking out the 5 best photos for this tip.
The Confederate Monument was dedicated in 1909 by the Granville Grays chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. It stood for about 65 years in the centre of downtown Oxford, North Carolina until it was moved to its present location on Spring Street. The highway department ordered it moved because it posed a traffic hazard. Sadly, when I was there in May, 2007, there was some vandalism at the base of the statue. History may not always be to everyone's liking, but no amount of vandalism will change what happened. It isn't always pretty, but history should be respected (so we may learn from it) as opposed to swept under some politically correct rug.
The Masonic Home for Children is one of few orphanages that still remain in America. It was founded in 1873 by the freemasons to house mainly orphans. However, it was officially renamed the Masonic Home for Children in 1994 to reflect the new realities that not all children housed there were orphans. Many now come from homes of unfit or incapable parents. As I understand it, they give guided tours. I just came on the grounds to snap the main building.