OXFORD – On July 2, the Oxford Memorial Library held a Grand Opening of the Theodore Burr Covered Bridge Resource Center as well as the bicentennial of the library’s building. There were displays by covered bridge societies in Fort Hill Park, music by the Community Band, dignitaries, speeches, a dedication ceremony, tours, refreshments, presentations, a barbecue, balloons, and even a special guest (amazingly at the ripe old age of 240), Theodore Burr himself!
The celebrity that is Oxford’s very own Theodore Burr (1771-1822), the “Father of American bridge building,” originally came to Oxford in 1792. Burr, known for his “extended travels” defied his own mortality and came back to Oxford for this celebration. The story of his life, accomplishments and even a hypothetical question and answer period was performed with charm and elegance by Burr impersonator, Bill Brower. (There is no known likeness of the famed bridge designer so Bill has given a physical image to the verbal Burr portrait.) In full costume, Brower amused and enlightened a full audience in the library’s new Community Room.
In brief this special guest, “Burr” explained that he designed and built the Federal style mansion – which now houses Oxford’s public library – in 1811, 200 years ago. It is in fact, the only structure that he built which remains in existence today, making it very special indeed. It has been a library since 1901, and Theodore was proud to add, that it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.