Oxford Mills is a place that was nearly the main centre of Oxford-on-Rideau, then became the main centre, and then lost its position as the main centre: it’s had an up and down history! When the township was originally surveyed, the regular plan was to place the main town or village at the geographical centre of the new township. Although Oxford Mills would not exist before the 1840’s, in 1791, when the survey took place of Oxford on Rideau, lot 17, concession 5 was about the centre, with the South Branch River running through it to provide a perfect location for a village.

But plans change, and it was Kemptville that eventually grew to be the main urban centre of Oxford. Then everything changed again. In 1857, Kemptville separated from Oxford to form its own municipal identity, and the Oxford Township council and staff removed to Oxford Mills and built a very fine Township Hall in 1875. And so, Oxford Mills gained its new status, as it seems it was always fated to do. From 1857 until 1998, the village was the administrative centre of Oxford on Rideau.

Then everything changed yet again. In 1998, Oxford on Rideau was merged with South Gower and the Town of Kemptville to form a new municipality which came to be called North Grenville. Everything moved back to Kemptville, which again took over from Oxford Mills as the administrative capital and main urban centre of the new municipality. Oxford Mills was allowed to become the picturesque and rather sleepy hamlet it is today.

But its heritage is preserved in some very fine buildings, some old and historic ones too, which are reminders of the changeable history of Oxford Mills.


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