Old Church gets new floors, hosts concert

OXFORD — If eating homemade ice cream and listening to some old-time guitar and mandolin music sounds like a great way to spend a summer night, you might want to head over to Old Church in Oxford on Aug. 24 for an ice cream social and free concert.

Sponsored by the Oxford Historical Shrine Society and Oxford Lions Club, the event begins at 7 p.m., with an hour-long concert by The Old Time String Doctors beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Old Time Stringers features Oxford resident Frank Peay and Lanier Mote, who lives in the Bethany Community. They will be joined for this performance by Ed Kellough of Watkinsville, who plays with Peay in another band, Appalachian Rhythm.

Peay described their sound as “old time Scottish and Irish folk tunes with a little bluegrass and country mixed in.”

The band draws inspiration from artists such as Ricky Skaggs, Doc Watson and Norman Blake.

“If they like old-time music or bluegrass music, they’re in for a real treat,” Peay said. “If they’re not familiar with old-time or bluegrass music, they’re in for something different that hopefully will be a real treat for them. It’s exciting mandolin playing and flack pick guitar and vocals.”

Concert-goers will also have the chance to enjoy the reclaimed heart pine floors in Old Church, a project of the Oxford Historical Shrine Society that was spearheaded by its treasurer, City Councilman Frank Davis.

“Our floors had a lot of holes and cracks in them and we wanted to do something to prevent someone’s high heels from going into one of those holes or cracks and falling and getting hurt, so we decided to overlay the old floor with a new floor,” Davis said.

“The problem was finding the lumber to do it with; I had a number of companies who gave me proposals but most of them were in the $50,000 range and we didn’t have that much money to spend on that.”

Davis said he searched Craigslist and found a company in North Carolina that makes flooring from beams in old cotton mills. The lumber used was more than 100 years old, he said.

Davis said the flooring cost about $12,500 and the entire project, including installation by Kitchens Flooring, removal, painting and reinstallation of the pews, cost about $30,000. The project was funded by the Oxford Historical Shrine Society, which spent about $500,000 a dozen years ago on repairs to the church.

Jim Watterson, who coordinates events at the church, said the flooring appears to be about the same age as the church, built circa 1841. “We’ve got a brand new floor that’s as old as the building,” he said.