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Cedar Oaks is a historic Greek revival style home built in Oxford, Mississippi. The house was built in 1859 by William Turner, who used the home as his personal residence. Throughout its lifetime, the house has survived several hardships. The structure was set on fire by occupying Union troops in 1864, only five years after its construction. Almost 100 years later, the house was threatened again, this time by commercial development. The house was then moved from its original location to where it stands today and given the name Cedar Oaks.


  • The Cedar Oaks Historic Home
  • One of the interior rooms of the house
  • Another of the house's interior rooms

Cedar Oaks is a historic Oxford home that has many ties to the community and its residents. Built in 1859 by William Turner, the house is an example of a Greek revival structure. During its lifetime, the house was close to destruction on multiple occasions. It was saved by the efforts of two women who rallied support from the town in order to preserve the historic house. The house no longer resides in its original location; it is now located 2.2 miles away from where it was constructed. The house received the name Cedar Oaks when it was moved, a reference to the cedar and oak trees located on its new lot. The land the house sits on today was donated by T. E. Avent in honor of his wife. With such an incredible history, the house itself is an important piece of Oxford and its heritage. 

William Turner built the Cedar Oaks house in 1859 and used it as his personal residence. In 1862, soon after the building's construction, the city of Oxford was occupied by federal troops. The troops were under the command of generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman, two federal generals during the Civil War. Two years later, the house was damaged in a fire when Major General Andrew Jackson Smith set fire to many of Oxford's buildings in 1864. Although the town square faced the worst of the damage, the fire reached the Cedar Oaks house as well. It was then that Molly Turner Orr, William Turner's sister, saved the house by organizing a fire brigade. Molly and the others were able to put out the fire and prevent further damage to the house, preserving the home of her brother.

In 1963, almost a century after the Cedar Oaks house was saved from the fire, the house narrowly avoided destruction once again. The house was originally built on North Lamar Boulevard. In 1963, the house was set to be destroyed for business development in the area. In order to save the house, Mary Alice Tate gathered the members of both the Centennial and Cosmopolitan clubs. Together with the two clubs, Tate raised money to move the house from its original location and save it from business development. After raising money and borrowing $10,000, Tate and the others were able to afford the cost of moving the Cedar Oaks house. The house was moved 2.2 miles from its original location to 601 Murray Drive, where it remains today. After the move, the two clubs continued to work together to maintain the house for almost 50 years. Management of the house was finally given to the city of Oxford in 2010. In recognition of her efforts to save the Cedar Oaks house, Mary Alice Tate is known locally as the "patron saint of Cedar Oaks."

1. Cedar Oaks. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://cedaroaks.org/index.php.

2. Schnugg, Alyssa. Saving Cedar Oaks’ history, one story at a time. Clarion Ledger. June 21, 2015. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://www.clarionledger.com/story/news/2015/06/21/saving-cedar-oaks-history-one-story-time/29072783/.

3. Cedar Oaks. Visit Oxford MS. Accessed July 13, 2019. https://visitoxfordms.com/attractions/cedar-oaks/.

4. Oxford, Mississippi. Wikipedia. Accessed July 14, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford,_Mississippi.