Cofield’s Corner: Cedar Oaks, ‘the house that wouldn’t die’

Published 6:10 am Wednesday, March 20, 2024

By John Cofield

With the latest local spotlight on Cedar Oaks, I thought of a shot Granddad had collected showing one of the town’s first vehicles parked in front of the fine old home. 

It was so long ago, but yet we were a pretty heady bunch then and now. Enjoying being Oxford and Ole Miss. A look at the town’s history there is smile-worthy. But it wasn’t smiles when the last Yankees leaving Oxford galloped up North Lamar after throwing their warring torches through Cedar’s Oaks parlor windows.

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A group of Oxford ladies rushed up and stamped out the flames. That alone would have sealed the grand old home’s fate as a forever Oxford landmark. 

Then there at the crossroads of North Lamar and Jefferson, she stood for nearly a century until commerce came to call on the corner. But even then, we couldn’t bring ourselves to tear it or let it be torn down. 

Somehow she had to stay, buried too deep to be pulled out. But she could be moved and when it happened it was a show-stopper. And soon thereafter when they nailed her back together up there on that Murray Street hill, folks began to refer to it as “the house that would not die.” 

Mary Alice Tate led the charge back then and today her spirit lives with the ladies of the Cedar Oaks Guild as they continue to work to preserve the fine old home. 

There is work ahead. Be aware when working to put on a small to medium-sized reception, reunion, or meeting of friends. Support old Oxford and Cedar Oaks. We only owe it to ourselves. 

And I, for one, am on “Team Cedar Oaks.”