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Local History

Virtual Walking Tour of Historic Morristown
The tour is underwritten in part by the Morristown Partnership and provided courtesy of the Historic Morris Visitors Center.

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Virtual Walking Tour. . .

Stop 1. The Morris County Courthouse,
Washington Street
 
The "new" Morris County Courthouse was built between 1826 and 1827. It was designed by two local architects, Joseph M. Lindsley of Morristown and Lewis Carter of Chatham, and is one of New Jersey´s most important public buildings in the Federal style. For many years, bells rang from the belfry at the start of court and when fire threatened a building in town.

Above the front entrance to the courthouse stands a wooden statue of Justice. She holds a scale to symbolize the balanced judicial system, and a sword to represent the protection of individual rights. Morristown´s statue of Justice is unlike most others because she is not blindfolded.

Stop 2. First Baptist Church,
Washington Street
 
The Baptist Church was the second church founded in Morristown. In June 1752, the First Baptist Church of Morristown was established by a gathering of 17 people who held services about one mile from the Green. In 1771, a church was erected on the northwest corner of the Green. The Baptists worshipped there until the present Romanesque Revival Church was constructed on Washington Street in 1892.

Stop 3. The Independent Hose Company,
15 Market Street
 
The Independent Hose Company was organized in 1834, and became Morristown´s first incorporated fire department in 1867. Its fire house is believed to have been built around 1870. It is shared between the Independent and Washington Hose Companies.



Morristown´s well-known political cartoonist Thomas Nast was a volunteer of this fire company.

Stop 4. The Canfield House,
5 Maple Street
(Private Home)

 
This house was built around 1800 for Israel Canfield, proprietor of Canfield and Wetmore´s General Store, and served as the first manse of the Methodist Church during the 1840s. This neighborhood was the Town´s first commercial district, as the Morris and Essex Railroad ran along Maple Avenue. In the mid-nineteenth century, the railroad moved its route to the other side of the Green, when plans to re-route the tracks across Bank St. Gulch and over the hill behind the Courthouse failed.

Stop 5. The Sansay House,
17 DeHart Street
(Private Home)

 
This house was built in 1807 and named for Monsieur Louis Sansay, a French dancing master, who brought gracious manners to town by directing a popular dancing school in his home. His house was the site of an elegant, men-only dinner, held in honor of a Revolutionary hero, the Marquis de Lafayette. Later, after Rev. Albert Barnes (Presbyterian Church on the Green) denounced the "sin" of dancing in one of his sermons, Sansay´s dancing school went bankrupt. The dance master left Morristown and was never heard from again.

Stop 6. The Pitney House,
43 Maple Street
(Private Home)

 
This house was constructed between 1860 and 1864 and was bought by Henry C. Pitney in 1864. Mr. Pitney was a distinguished Morristown lawyer, who served the community as County Prosecutor, Vice Chancellor of New Jersey, the President of the National Iron Bank, Director of the Library and Lyceum, and President of the Morris Aqueduct.

Stop 7. The Admiral Rodgers House,
40 Macculloch Avenue
(Private Home)

 
This Vernacular Gothic Revival house was built in 1852 for Christopher Raymond Perry Rodgers and his wife Jane Slidell. Rodgers, the nephew of three naval commodores (including Oliver Hazard Perry), launched a successful naval career of his own. Admiral Rogers served in the Mexican Wars, as Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, and Commander-in-Chief of the Pacific Squadron. The wisteria which hangs above the front porch is said to have been brought back from Japan as a gift from Commodore Matthew C. Perry after his famous 1854 expedition. Admiral Rodgers died in 1892, and his house remains a private residence.

Stop 8. The General Porter House,
1 Farragut Place
(Private Home)

 
This Victorian house was built between 1880 and 1890 for General Fitz John Porter. General Porter was educated at West Point, where he served under Robert E. Lee. A Major General at the battle of Bull Run, he was court marshalled for refusing to obey commands. In 1878, Porter was cleared of any wrongdoing by an army inquiry and exonerated by Congress. Following his military career, General Porter helped to reorganize New York City government and also served at Greystone Park in Parsippany, NJ.

Stop 9. Macculloch Hall,
45 Macculloch Avenue
 
This Federal-style brick mansion was completed in 1819 for George Perrot Macculloch, best known as the "Father of the Morris Canal." His vision for a canal that would connect Pennsylvania´s coal mines to Morris County´s iron foundries was realized by 1831. The canal operated for about ninety years, contributing greatly to the development of Morristown and its environs. The elegant manor house served as home to five generations of Macculloch descendants, until 1949. Today the mansion and gardens are open to the public, and house a collection of 18th and 19th century English and American fine and decorative arts. It has a gallery for changing exhibits, and is renowned for a major collection of the works of political cartoonist Thomas Nast.

Stop 10. The Kedge,
49 Macculloch Avenue
(Private Home)

 
The Kedge was built between 1870 and 1880 by Henry Miller, a grandson of George Macculloch. Mr. Miller had a distinguished career as lieutenant commander in the United States Navy. His house, called "The Kedge" (which means a small anchor) was originally built as a summer cottage. Later enlarged to serve as a permanent residence, the house remains the home of Macculloch family descendents.


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