By: Hanna Teevan
The Visit Oxford office is located at 1013 Jackson Avenue East. Most people wander by without a glance, while others may stop and admire the quaint bricked building. Located on the historic Square, it’s certainly unusual being that it’s free-standing. Originally built in 1885 by Senator W.V. Sullivan and L.Q.C. Lamar, the building has seen Oxford and the Square through all of its changes and progression.
Upon entering the front door, the wall of law books stands out. Lots of visitors ask about them. If you look closer you can see they’re volumes of the Atlantic, Northeastern, Northwestern, Pacific, Southeastern, Southwestern and Federal Reporter. Every one of them in the front room has Jim Stone, James Stone or James Stone & Son printed on its binding in gold lettering. More report books fill bookcases and shelves throughout the office.
Our enormous collection of law books comes from the men that occupied the space before us. Our Visitors Center is the first business to occupy the building that is not a law office. Taylor McElroy (Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court), Justice L.Q.C. Lamar (served on U.S. Supreme Court, served in both houses of Congress and was Secretary of the Interior), U.S. Senator W.V. Sullivan, James and Phil Stone, T.H. Freeland III and T.H. Freeland IV all practiced law in what is now our office.
Phil’s father, James Stone purchased the building in 1905 with Clarence Sivley, who went on to become General Counsel of the Illinois Central Railroad. You might recognize “Sivley” from the street just north of the Square bearing the same name. James Stone & Sons occupied the building until 1962 when it became Freeland & Freeland Law Firm. Freeland and Freeland had their practice until 2015 when Visit Oxford moved in.
- Phil Stone was William Faulkner’s mentor and close friend. Due to this, Faulkner had some of his early novels typed up by Stone’s secretaries.
- There is a mounting block in the front yard of the office used by Phil Stone to mount his horse circa 1910. (Pictured below)
- Some of the attorneys that practiced here have their names painted on the ceiling in the back hallway and our Deputy Director’s office.
- We share an office with the Double Decker Arts Festival coordinator. Hanging next to her desk is some of the festival’s early posters, including the 1st annual poster from 1996. Fifteen more posters hang framed covering the wall above the front desk.
Since moving in 2015, we have come to love and admire the books, old photos and everything else that makes our office so unique to Oxford and its history. Next time you’re in town or on the Square, stop in and take a look for yourself!