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Morris Memorial Park

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The Town of Morris bought the land which is now the Morris Memorial Park from Lillian F. Skilton in 1968. Mrs. Skilton had lived in the 18th-century house which stood on the corner of Route 61 and 109 with her husband, Elton R. Skilton, until the house burned in 1925. This, apparently, would have been the same house James Morris bought in 1785. In 1790, Morris began taking students into his home and in 1803 built the Morris Academy next door to his home at the site of the memorial marker on the present green. The Academy was widely known and operated until 1888. The building was apparently destroyed sometime before the 1925 fire which destroyed the Skilton/Morris house.

James Morris' Academy was the focal point of this community long before the Town of Morris (named for James Morris) became a political entity. The Town of Morris was set aside from the Town of Litchfield in 1859. It had been a distinct community since 1767 as part of a separate ecclesiastical society within Litchfield known as the South Farm Ecclesiastical Society. It is generally believed that no common area, or green, existed nor was set aside in 1859 when the Town of Morris was established, but more research needs to be done to verify it.

By positioning Morris Memorial Park on the site of Morris Academy, the green is naturally situated at the center of the community and is the focal point of its civic and religious activities. To the northwest is the Morris Congregational Church (1841). Across Route 61 and to the southwest of the green is the Old Town Hall built after Morris became a separate entity. It served as such until 1932 when the present Georgian Revival style town hall/library complex was erected across from the green at the northeast intersection of Routes 61 and 109. To the north of the Old Town Hall is the Mill School constructed c. 1772 by the South Farms Ecclesiastical Society and moved to the site in 1981. Both buildings are operated as museums by the local historical society. The other two institutional buildings are the James Morris School which forms the eastern boundary and the fire department to the south of the green.

By establishing the Morris Memorial Park on the site of the Morris Academy, the Town of Morris has insured that this corner will remain the focal point of the community as it always has been.



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