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Community Pulse: Morris has a designated Heritage Home program

Julie Applegate
Julie Applegate

Those of us who live in Morris know that our town boasts many beautiful and historic homes.

But did you know that Morris has a designated Heritage Home program?

Sponsored by the Morris Downtown Development Partnership’s Historic Preservation Committee, the program designates historic homes within the Morris city limits in order to create an interest in the older homes and the community’s history while encouraging the preservation of the older homes.

Those who attended the 2015 Home for the Holidays house walk had the opportunity to visit the Dr. Austin Palmer House at 309 W. Main St. This home was not only Dr. Palmer’s residence, but served as his office as well. The home also features a back staircase to the maid’s quarters.

Many of the city’s historic homes are located on Vine Street. Drive by the beautiful Edward Sanford House at 440 Vine. Built in 1875, this statuesque three-story Italianate mansion was built by Mr. Stanford when he moved to Morris to teach.

He later became a lawyer and successful land investor. The Delos Jones House at 51 Vine was built in 1898 with locally made bricks. This brick Italianate home has round arched windows and sawn work porch decorations.

Although many first think of the historic 19th-century homes located on Vine Street, historic homes are located throughout Morris.

In fact, one of these beautiful homes, the William Reardon Jr. House ,is located on the far west side of town at 4140 Route 6. Samuel Hoge built this Italianate mansion as a wedding gift for his daughter when she married Civil War Capt. William Reardon Jr.

Those interested in learning more about Morris’ Heritage Homes are encouraged to visit the MDDP’s website at for a printable brochure featuring the homes. Brochures can also be picked up at the MDDP office, the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce, the Grundy County Historical Society and several local businesses.

Eligibility for the plaque is based on the following criteria:

Age of House

75 years or older


The building must be in good condition. The exterior must have been preserved, maintained or rehabbed to maintain its original architectural style and detail. A home that has been significantly altered may or may not be eligible. The final decision will be made by the MDDP Heritage Home Plaque Committee.

Historical significance

Consideration will be given to buildings with documentary evidence of ownership by a prominent person or family who made some important contribution to the community. The occurrence of a significant event at the site is also worthy of designation.

Architectural significance

Consideration will be given to buildings that are representative of a particular architectural style, or of unique design. This includes elements of architectural design, detail, building material, and craftsmanship. Structures by a noted designer, architect, or builder whose work has influenced the architectural character of the city are also noteworthy.

To qualify for a Heritage Home plaque

The structure must have built as a home, and located within the Morris city limits.

The owner must agree to maintain the distinguishing original character and features of the building.

A completed application, with supporting documentation proving age and history, must be submitted and approved by the MDDP Heritage Home Plaque Committee.

Plaque ownership

The cost of the plaque is funded in part by the Morris Downtown Development Partnership. The homeowner agrees to pay the remainder of the cost.

The plaque is black slate, and 9 inches by 12 inches. The gold lettering reads: “HERITAGE HOME” with the building date (or approximate).

The participant agrees to mount the plaque on the front of the house near the front door four to six feet above threshold level, or the plaque may be mounted on a post in the front yard.

The homeowner(s) agree to allow MDDP to use their names as well as images of themselves and the Heritage Home for promotional materials.

• Julie Applegate is the executive director of Morris Downtown Development Partnership. Community Pulse is a weekly column that provides a dedicated space for Grundy County-area nonprofits, schools, organizations and sometimes Morris Herald-News staff to share news and information about their organization.

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