April 6, 2013
“Having this designation is really an expression of the
pride we have in our community,” said Stacia Norman of the Morris
The initial bid to have the village be
nominated for the National Register began in 1980, but enthusiasm waned
after a couple of years, she said.
Those seeking the designation
renewed the effort several years ago and hired a consultant, Jessie
Ravage of Cooperstown, to guide the group and develop the nomination
that was officially approved by the National Register in late February.
earliest settlers of the village of Morris were French immigrants
fleeing the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution. What drew
them to the hamlet was water — specifically Butternut Creek, which was
ripe for industrial applications, such as mills.
settlers called the place Louisville, but as the village fell more and
more under the influence of settlers with English backgrounds, it became
known as Morris. The village, which has structures that date as far
back as 1790, was established officially in 1870. Today, it has a
population of just fewer than 600 people.
The historic district,
according to the National Register, encompasses not only the properties
within the village boundaries but also several properties partially or
just outside the village. These include the Hillington Cemetery, a
Quaker cemetery associated with the early settlement, and the Otsego
County fairground, which straddles the village’s boundary.
was a great industrial hamlet in the 19th century,” Norman said. “We’re
at a crossroads, and a lot of traffic went through Morris. The were all
sorts of woolen factories and cotton factories, and there was a cheese
factory. Many of these stone buildings that were here then are intact.”
was this unusually large assemblage of stone buildings — with domestic,
religious and commercial purposes — that helped propel the village’s
nomination for inclusion on the National Register.
Register is the official list of the nation’s historic places deemed
worthy of preservation. It was authorized by the National Historic
Preservation Act of 1966 and is the official listing of buildings,
structures, districts, objects and sites that have been significant in
the history, architecture, archaeology, engineering and culture of the
state and the nation.
For personal reasons, Norman noted that she
is thrilled to have the new designation because she will now qualify for
tax credits by making upgrades to her own house in Morris.
“It’s another reason to be excited,” she said.
the consultant, said getting the designation “opens up a lot of
opportunities for tax credits for rehabilitation work on homes, and that
credit has just been extended for another five years in the state of
In New York, the National Register program is administered by the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Places.
think many people whose families have been in Morris for generations
certainly understand the village’s historical significance,” Norman
said. “One of the things that draws people here in the first place is
the small-village charge and the historic charm of the buildings.”