Holiday Tour Is A Step Back in Time

Step back in time and stir the senses on a walk through nine 19th century buildings on the 2012 Holiday Tour of Homes and Churches in Morristown. Williamsburg-inspired decorations of fresh pine and fruit, lanterns and candles will be found in five private homes, the Christian Church, Methodist Church, Town Hall and The Vestry, all lining the original National Pike and National Road.

The tour will be held 4-8 p.m. Dec. 1 and noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 2. Tickets may be purchased on Main Street during tour hours for $10 per person. Morristown, cited as one of the best-preserved examples of a National Road town, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This year marks a return of the Christmas tour. The last tour was during Morristown’s Bicentennial in 2002.

“We have been working for over a year to create a 19th century Christmas experience,” said John Rataiczak, president of the Morristown Historic Preservation Association, tour sponsor.

The sights and sounds of that experience will include wagon rides, home-cooked food, strolling carolers, and a live nativity. Adam and Becky Elizeus and their team of Percheron horses will offer wagon rides through the village. Real Life Community of Faith and the Girl Scouts will stage a live nativity and sing carols throughout town. The Boy Scouts will light luminaria along the walks leading to the churches.

In addition, the Morristown Volunteer Fire Department will serve homemade soups, bread, and desserts in the Town Hall. All proceeds from the supper benefit the volunteer fire department. The Flushing Garden Club will sell decorated wreaths from the old Morristown Bank Building on Main Street.

The Holiday Tour of Homes and Churches is a fundraiser for the Morristown Historic Preservation Association, a non-profit organization chartered in the state of Ohio. Past home tours have raised funds to replace village street signs; restore the old Town Hall; re-construct the World War II Veterans Honor Board, and create and fund the village’s website. To learn more, log onto

Tour stops will include:

– Bernhard House 1838 – A traditional Williamsburg “apple fan” over the front door distinguishes the Jonas Bernhard house at Christmas.

This half-house, one of only six remaining in Ohio, is built of brick in the Flemish-bonding pattern, rare for the region. Chestnut-planked floors, four fireplaces, two staircases, and all original woodwork remain in the 174-year old home that was built by Bernhard, a wagon maker.

– Berry House 1844 – A Greek Revival entrance enhances this Federal brick home that was built by John Berry, a tanner, in 1844. The wood floors have been finished and the original windows rebuilt. The homeowner, Judy Bonifield and her late husband Bruce, commissioned artist Charla Maxwell Herbert to paint a floor to ceiling mural of Morristown that starts in the entry and extends 20 feet, following the staircase to the second floor.

– Davidson House 1847 – The Robert Davidson House is an example of the Carpenter Gothic style, appropriate given its history as a Methodist parsonage from 1917-64. The house has a balloon frame of red oak with poplar lap siding and a cut sandstone foundation.

– Hanauer House 1841 – Nineteenth century merchant Samuel Hanauer built this Federal home in 1841. The Federal is a common style found along the National Road from Maryland to Illinois. This one has 12 rooms, a central hall and stairway that winds its way up two and one-half stories.

– Hazlett House 1836 – Morristown’s first homes were log cabins lining the National Pike and this house rests atop the rough-hewn logs of the original log cabin that stood along Zane’s Trace.