“She helped raise money to fulfill the challenge grant offered by the family of WE and Ophia D. Smith to create the Smith Library of Regional History which opened in 1981 as a division of the Lane Public Libraries,” Elliott wrote. in that intro, pointing to Lindsey. he volunteered there and became interim director when the director abruptly left the position. “It was through his influence that the Library acquired a collection of beautiful black and white photographs taken by local photographer Frank R. Snyder (1875-1958). Drawing on her previous experience as executive editor of “House Beautiful” magazine, Irene conceived the idea of displaying the photographs of the Synder house in a commemorative coffee table book and began working on the text after retiring.”
He was unable to complete the work, but Elliott took on the task after his own retirement. Some photographs of houses by other local photographers are included, but Snyder’s work makes up the majority of the book.
Each of the 75 houses is on its own page in the book with text describing its location, architecture, and brief historical information about the inhabitants or, in many cases, the most prominent owner of the house.
In the back of the book there are two lists of the houses: one by address so that users can easily find a specific one that interests them, and another alphabetical list by name of the people who lived there. A map on the front locates each house by the number assigned in the book.
Some of the houses no longer exist as they were demolished, and some now look quite different from the old photos due to renovations and additions. Locations vary across the Oxford map, but many can be found within a walk of several blocks. A walk around the blocks bounded by West Church, Elm and Spring streets and Campus Avenue would get people past more than half of the 75 locations. A couple departs from College Corner Pike and a few are on the western campus.
House number 1 may be the oldest in the book and still stands on the corner of Spring Street and Campus Avenue. It is believed that it was built four decades before the Civil War. The house has been used as a wool mill and dairy by different owners over the years.
House number 6 is Scott Manor, at 2 S. Campus Ave. The house no longer exists, replaced by the Phi Delta Theta headquarters. The house, however, had been built in 1831 for the family of Professor John Scott of the University of Miami. His daughter, Caroline, was born in the house and grew up to become Caroline Scott Harrison, the First Lady of the United States.
The Richey House at 220 E. High St. was known for more than a century by another name, the “Lottie Moon House.” It was the home of the Sutton Richey family for 110 years, but the most common name attached to the house was due to the exploits of Charlotte Moon Clark, who served the Confederacy as a spy during the Civil War. Her family lived in the house for less than a decade in the 1840s and 1850s.
A one-page biography of Frank R. Snyder is also part of the book. Snyder was helping his father with his photography business in Indiana and moved to Oxford in 1895. Two years later he opened his own photography studio which later expanded into a store selling stationery, art supplies, cameras and gifts. The store was in business for 109 years.
He was the town’s leading photographer and a businessman involved in civic affairs and photographs of his house were often taken shortly after construction or a major renovation.
All of Snyder’s surviving photos are accessible at the University of Miami Archives and many of them at the Smith History Library.
The biography closes with the comment: “Those who treasure Oxford’s distinctive past are indebted to Frank R. Snyder and his legacy.”
In his introduction, Elliott credits volunteer Elizabeth Johnson for augmenting Lindsey’s efforts, WE Smith Family Charitable Trust for financing the costs of publishing the book, Curtis Ellison for editorial advice, Stephen Gordon for architectural descriptions, Sam Ashworth for map design, Smith Library staff for additional assistance, and Jacqueline Johnson of the Miami Archives for tracking down elusive information.
Copies are available for $10 from the Smith History Library on the second floor of the Oxford Lane Public Library.