MORRISTOWN - At a crossroads on the historic National Road is a stone marker that greets those entering the village of Morristown.
Mayor Gordon Price describes the village, population 300, as a true example of "small town America" where everybody knows everybody.
"It's a very quaint, historic village," Price said. "It's a great place for raising children. It's a good home atmosphere."
The old Black Horse Inn on Main Street was run by early settler and innkeeper Duncan Morrison, for whom Morristown was named.
Photo by Sarah Harmon
The history of Morristown is a special point of pride in the community and makes the small village unique. Morristown was platted in 1801 and named after an early settler and innkeeper, Duncan Morrison, who ran the Black Horse Inn, the original inn on Main Street. In 1826, National Road was built through the Morristown, causing businesses to flourish in the community. Today, the village is the best preserved example of an old "Pike town" in Eastern Ohio, Price said.
Along the streets are numerous old buildings dating back to when the village was first built in the early 1800s, giving visitors the sense of walking through time. It is this history Price wants to preserve as the village embarks into its future.
"We're trying to stay in pace with growth in the future," Price said. "With life comes change. If you look over the history of the village, it progressed with change. We want to hold on to the heritage of Morristown, but stay in pace for the future."
The new developing gem of the community is the Lynn-Hunkler Memorial Park. Before former Barnesville resident Betty Modie and her husband donated the 73-acre property in 2004, Morristown didn't have a park at all. Now, the park boasts five baseball fields, a basketball court, a veterans' memorial and a playground - all built by volunteers. The park also has hosted the Beast of the East baseball tournaments and will do so again this summer. The village also plans to build a Frisbee golf course on the perimeter of the park.
Price said the village has improved its quality of life by putting in a sanitary sewer system, increasing the value of the property in the village. Also, the village was approved for a Community Development Block Grant to fund a storm sewer project this coming summer.
The village is also preparing for the future of the gas and oil industry by proposing a zoning ordinance to guide residents and small businesses through those potential changes.
"These last few years, we've worked hard knowing there is going to be a change," Price said. "We're just trying to be prepared."