916 Jackson Ave. is still home

Published 6:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2016

I’m sure 916 Jackson Ave. doesn’t mean much to many people but, for 35 years now, it has been my workplace address.

The Oxford EAGLE offices will be relocated over the next two months to 4 County Road 2050, which is just off Highway 30 East next to Morgan White Insurance and Stout’s Carpet.

For so many years, the EAGLE buildings on Jackson Avenue have been my home. I’ve had the honor of working with some great journalists and friends. I have watched people come and go but always wished the best for them as they began another chapter in life.

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I remember coming to the EAGLE buildings as a kid, when the EAGLE was published weekly, and heading to the Square to sell the papers. They were 10 cents each and I got to keep a nickel for each paper I sold. I remember my first bike route that covered Pierce, Fillmore, Buchanan, Beanland Drive and part of South Lamar. I remember the dog on that route that bit me twice.

I attended grammar school in the old school that was across from the EAGLE buildings. My Dad used to wait out front on me to cross the street and he would give me some money to walk to Leslie Drugs for some candy. He would always have some odd job for me to do just to keep me out of his way while he worked.

In 1982, I started full time at the EAGLE after graduating from Ole Miss. I worked for seven years in the circulation department at that time, and have delivered all of our subscribers their paper at some course over these years.

Not many people in their careers have the opportunity to work with their brother and father in a business. I had that honor for so many years and realize now how treasured those times were.

I remember so many late nights working in the pressroom printing the weekly papers that we printed. I remember several calls in the middle of the night when someone had gotten into a fight and shattered the front plate glass windows of one of the five buildings.

I remember the ice storm of 1994 as we were getting ready to print that morning and lost total power. Those were the only days that I can remember that we didn’t print the EAGLE. We had press issues before and since, but good neighbors at The Panolian in Batesville helped us out in a bind.

Since September 2014 with the first Sunday edition, Saturday nights have taken on a different meaning while working at the EAGLE. Some of our employees have been flashed through the front windows of the pressroom. We have had people use our trucks as a resting place after a hard night of partying and several just walk in to the mailroom to get out of the cold.

All of us, to some extent, are “creatures of habit” and I’m probably one of the worst. Change doesn’t come very easy to me and it is hard to imagine a new work environment. The new location will be much nicer and have the look of a new building. The press will be in the rear of the building, keeping all employees together which is very important.

At the end of May, I won’t have to walk through all five of the buildings, making sure the doors are locked and the lights are off, as I get ready to leave for the night. On June 1, the EAGLE starts a new chapter in its storied history.

Still, 916 Jackson Ave. will always be my home.

Tim Phillips is publisher of The Oxford EAGLE. Contact him at tim.phillips@oxfordeagle.com.