Photographer's Note

I suppose I really like this picture because it reminds me of summers spent on a nearby farm as a child. Although we only came to town on Saturday night to buy or barter farm produce for essentials, we used to ride our bikes to a cousin's house on the River Phillip in Riverview to swim and make model boats. This is the Black River, which runs along in back of the old center of business on Water Street in Oxford, a tributary to the River Phillip. Oxford was named such because it was were teams of oxen could cross the River Phillip.

The surrounding area was once almost entirely subsistance farming where people raised or hunted, fished or trapped almost everything they used. My grandparents lived with no refridgeration, hand waterpumps, outhouses and kerosine lights, farming with horse teams, into the 1950's. The work would change with the season, and would involve making Maple sugar, preserving foods, lumbering, trapping and selling fur pelts, and, if you were close to the water, maybe even lobster fishing. People were very skilled in many facets of life and seemed much more a part of the land they lived from. I don't think my grandfather could imagine himself apart from his 200 acre farm. I suppose this is what is referred to as "a sense of place". Certainly we are more free now, rather than being tied to our land, but it comes at the cost of feeling self sufficient and in tune with nature. The advent of corporate farming and the lure of higher paying work in the cities has resulted in many farms becoming overgrown and/or vacant. The areas near the beaches seem to be moving in the direction of becoming summer recreational properties.

Oxford Woolen Mills have ceased operating, but were once one of the largest businesses in the area,and used the river Phillip for power. In many parts of the world rivers and canals were used as a way to dispose of garbage and sewage, and I suppose that is why the buildings were located here.

The center of business has moved to the other end of town, closer to the Trans Canada Highway, so the park shown here was created when some old buildings were removed. Oxford is known as "The Wild Blueberry Capital of Canada", and now has two frozen food plants that process blueberries and other vegetables.

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Additional Photos by Larry Carolan (lcarolan) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 210 W: 12 N: 383] (930)
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