The Mote-Morris House, was built in 1892 for eight-term Leesburg mayor, Edward H. Mote, and his wife Lucretia, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. It cost about $9,000 to build.
The two-story home has been owned by three families. The Motes moved from the home in 1908 and Bishop Henry Clay Morrison bought it as a retirement residence. And in 1918, the home was sold to John S. and May James Morris. A member of the Morris family would live in the house for the next 70 years.
Morrison United Methodist Church bought the house in August 1988 and offered it to whoever would move it. Residents of Leesburg rallied round the old house and raised $95,000 for a new site. On Sept. 1, 1990, the Mote-Morris House was relocated to 1195 W. Magnolia Street from 1021 W. Main Street. More than 400 people watched as the 150-ton house was moved one block south and two blocks west.
The Mote-Morris House is a fine example late Victorian architecture. It is an interesting combination of styles, including its four-story turret, and two-story bay on the east side of the house. It is one of only a few original residences remaining. The house was built shortly after the town was platted. It has had only minor changes in its 102-year history. Several bathrooms have been added, as well as a porch or two.
The front room, just to the left of the foyer, is the formal parlour. The main stairway is L-shaped and leads to the three bedrooms on the second floor. The doorway from the parlour leads to the music room, which had been the family parlour. A small hallway leads from the music room to the dining room, which can also be accessed from the front foyer. The glass case in the hallway serves as a display for artifacts discovered during an archaeological dig performed by experts and students from Oak Park Middle School shortly after the house was moved in 1990. A pantry from the dining room leads to the kitchen, which has been modernized over the years. There is also a bathroom off of the music room.
Originally, the second floor had three bedrooms, plus a nursery and a servant’s room to the rear of the home. The servant’s room also had a back stairway that led to the kitchen and first floor. The main bedroom had been the one on the west side of the house. The nursery could be reached from the main bedroom and the east bedroom. The second-floor study, at the base of the tower, could also be reached from the main bedroom and also the front bedroom. That study has been turned into a bathroom. It also contains the stairway leading to the third floor study and fourth floor loft. The nursery area has been turned into a bathroom and the servant’s room is now a kitchen.
The Mote-Morris House is available to rent for personal functions such as weddings by calling 728-9898. The historic house is also open to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.