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Celebrating 150 years

Oxford’s Sesquicentennial is July 4, 5 & 6
Oxford will celebrate its 150th anniversary (Sesquicentennial) Thursday, July 4, through Saturday, July 6.

OXFORD– According to the Rock Island Railroad’s 1962-63 fall and winter passenger train timetable, Oxford, Iowa, is located 252 miles west of Chicago. The City’s website lists a population of approximately 800. It’s the administrative home of the Clear Creek Amana Community School District, is located about a mile south of U.S. Highway 6, and about as far north of Interstate 80.
And on Thursday, July 4, it’ll be celebrating not only our nation’s 243rd birthday on Independence Day but also the town’s 150th anniversary, or “Sesquicentennial.”
Depending on where you look, Oxford was actually platted in 1868, however the Oxford Centennial 1869-1969 book, obviously, chose 1869 as the founding.
Regardless of the date, a three-day party will celebrate the founding with a 5k race (with a one-mile walk option), car show, a tractor show, a mini-tractor pull, bingo, kids games, bouncy houses, a beard contest, street dance, duck race (at Rhine Creek by Old Roy’s), pie contest, Methodist Church hog roast, parade of tractors, quilt show, talent show, and of course the traditional Oxford Fourth of July Parade (3 p.m. on July 4).
The highlight, however, is a series of train rides to Iowa City and back pulled by a steam locomotive. The Iowa Interstate Railroad (IAIS, successor to the Rock Island) is offering the excursions behind one of their two Chinese-built QJ Class locomotives. The railroad purchased them in 2006 and ran numerous excursions over a seven-year period.
In 2013, the railroad decided to discontinue the program and put the steamers into storage. The Central States Steam Preservation Association, a non-profit organization was formed to continue the program. Central States Steam Preservation Association maintains and operates the locomotives, which were built in 1986 and are still owned by Railroad Development Corp., the parent company of the Iowa Interstate.
Iowa Interstate approached the Oxford Fire Department about sponsoring five trips as a fundraiser for the all-volunteer department. The railroad runs several such fundraising trips for fire departments across the state in communities served by the IAIS. According to Oxford Fire Department spokesman Bob Hora, the department keeps 75 percent of the proceeds and will use the funds to upgrade or buy new equipment. The remaining 25 percent goes to Central States Steam Preservation Association.
Unfortunately, if you have not already gone online to the Oxford Fire Department’s Facebook page and clicked on the link to purchase tickets, or didn’t go to the Fire Station during Saturday in-person ticket sales, you are out of luck. As of Monday morning, June 24, all trips were sold out.
The first trip is set to depart from the grade crossing on Augusta Avenue at 10 a.m. with subsequent trips at 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4 p.m.
The Oxford First Responders’ annual Street Dance, a fundraiser for Oxford’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) providers, is set for Saturday, July 6, at 8 p.m.
The full schedule of events can be found at various places in Oxford, such as City Hall, The Depot and the library. It can also be found online through the Oxford Sesquicentennial Celebration page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/249488905993387/.
Additional information about the three-day event can be found at https://historicaloxfordiowa.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/sesquicentennial-c....