In 2005, the Oxford Wal-Mart made the transition from, well, a regular Wal-Mart to a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The supersizing seemed to stay out of the uptown area, however.
Five years ago, uptown Oxford looked much like the quaint setup of today. Welcome to Oxford B.C. Before Chipotle. “One of my first memories of Miami University was of uptown Oxford during my college visit in the spring of 2005,” 2009 Miami graduate Tristan Chan said. “While much of it remains the same, speckled with red bricks, bagel shops, beer towers and independent boutiques, I am also surprised to find that many successful vendors closed up shop so quickly.”
Chan said it surprises him to see formerly booming businesses replaced.
“For a greater part of a decade, the Alexander House was a go-to place for parent’s weekends and must-impress dates, but was sold while I was still working there the summer after my senior year,” he said.
In the mid-2000s, the Balcony Bar, now the construction site of the new DuBois Book Store, was the home of uptown’s most popular 80s nights, live concerts and Spectrum’s drag shows. Below it, the High Street Grill served its famous steamed mussels. Hole in the Wall Bar, now Uptown Underground, reopened after a seven-year hiatus.
A major change to the appearance of High Street occurred when the façade of the craft store that became Bill’s Art Store was restored in the mid-2000s, according to Valerie Elliott, director of the Smith Library of Regional History.
“Sigma Chi owns that whole building, and they removed the stucco that had covered it in the 90s,” Elliott said. “They really tried to restore it to its original appearance, even matching the new windows to the ones on the original building from the early 1900s. It really changed the look of the area.”
Oxford also ended a year-long experiment of requiring uptown meters to be paid until 8 p.m. Now, meter checks are stopped after 6 p.m.
Unfortunately for students seeking a late night dollar menu, 2005 was the year the uptown Wendy’s burned down. The damaged building sat unused for years, an eyesore next to the prosperous Qdoba of the mid-2000s.
“One constant during my four years at Miami that I am glad to see gone was the infamous blue tarp hastily strewn over a charred Wendy’s corpse,” Chan said. “The site is now survived by a freshly-erected Chipotle.”