Christmas Houses

Christmas Houses


This time of year brings out feelings of nostalgia in people. It’s a time for gifts, food, and Christmas movies – especially movies.

Several of the newsletters I subscribe to have posted lists of their favorite holiday movie homes. You probably have your own list of holiday favorite homes as well.

After all, who can forget brick mansion in Home Alone, or Rose hill Cottage in The Holiday, or the adorable cape in A Miracle on 34th Street? The movies feature homes where one could curl up in a window seat and watch the snow fall, pull up a comfy chair next to the fireplace and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate, or just have friends over for potluck dinner.

My daughter calls them Christmas houses because of the warmth and happiness one feels when seeing these homes.

Most people can only dream of having a “Christmas house”… but here in Morristown we are blessed; From Olde Town’s quaint cottages, timeless bungalows, vernacular farm houses, and stately Georgian colonials to the beautiful and traditional elegance of the 1920s and 30s homes in Lyn Mar Hills, and Morningside we are a city of hundreds of Christmas houses that evoke memories and pull on our heart strings.

So in your jaunts around Morristown this holiday season take a side trip and visit Olde Towne, Lyn Mar Downs and Morningside – feel the history and the stories of Christmases past.




Great Old Homes Brochure

Great Old Homes Brochure

Great Old Homes Brochure

Was sick today and couldn’t do much so I took this rare quiet time to created a little 8 page brochure for Olde Towne. Thank you for the idea Leslie.

Now hoping that after the holidays I can get the houses of East 2nd North Street up on the site.

olde towne it is more than just old houses

Here is the link to the pdf.
The pages will go out to the printer after thanksgiving.


Did you know

A little bit of history

  • Arrow Hill was built shortly before the beginning of the Civil War. Did you know it was a wheat plantation with slaves? Most of their neighbors were for the Union. When the son of the house was injured in a battle, he had to be hidden in the atticto avoid being taken by Union troops.
  • 1860’s – The first place of Worship built in Morristown was the Southern Methodist Church, (First Methodist Church), it was used as a hospital for both North and South soldiers during the civil war.
  • May 31, 1870 the old Tate store was the meeting place for the formation Hamblen county.
  • 1871 – 2 acres of land were secured for the court house. The court house building contract was signed December 1872 – completed November 1 1874 and cost $21,750
  • 1885 – 807 W 2nd North Street was built for J.N.Hill, downtown merchant whose son in law was killed in the New Market train wreck.
  • 1906 – Sidewalks put in on West 2nd North Street and parts of West 1st North Street.
  • 1906 John Phillips Sousa Band played in Morristown – January 29,1906 – it was a matinee on the 3rd floor of the Susong Building – corner of east main and Cumberland – 900 people attended
  • 1914 – The first Coca Cola Plant came to Morristown in 1914. The location was at the corner of Main and Pence street.
  • 1923 – Morristown’s Theater Guild is the oldest community theater in Tennessee been around 86 seasons
  • 1924 – The Morristown Area Chamber of Commerce was the first to be organized in the state. It was incorporated in 1924 and was known as the board of trade. It was located on Main Street in the Kingmyer Hotel.
  • 1925 – Morristown’s first full-time library resided at the Woman’s Club House 1925-1959. (Before that it was housed in boxes at the homes of the ladies from Somo Sala Circle, ladies reading Circle, DAR and UDC.) In 1959 the library moved to the old telephone Company Building in Olde Towne at the corner of Henry and West 2nd North. The library moved to its new location in 1965.
  • 1927 – Morristown’s first radio broadcast was in 1927 from the Sheeley (Carlisle) Music Store on Main Street.
  • 1940 – WCRK is Morristown’s oldest radio station, set up in 1940.
  • 1955 – Morristown was named the cleanest city in America
  • 1977 – 2nd North Street was designated by City Council as a historic Area.
  • 1999 –Historic Morristown Foundation buys and installs historic designation sign on the corner of West 2nd North Street and High Street.

They don’t make them like that anymore

I found this on an old computer. It was written right after the first attempt was made to demolish the Coy WIllings house.

The Coy Willing House, on the corner of West 2nd North and Church Streets, was scheduled for demolition August 12th, 1998 at 5:30 p.m. Jerry’s Wrecker Service showed up on time. Mr. Gail Smith, the man awarded the demolition contract, made sure the cables and beams were right. But the house did not go down. True to the character of the man who built it, this stately home stood strong and defiant as steel cables strained and I-beams pressed hard against the oak-clad sheathing.

Onlookers watched in amazement. The wrecker truck, for a brief moment, lifted off the ground, the windows rattled, my five-year-old screamed and the cables snapped.

Even with the siding off, the floors removed, and half the joists gone, the craftsmanship was ever present. The Coy Willing House was built when pride and integrity were more than buzzwords for salesmen and politicians.

Of course the house did go down; other methods were employed. But that day the son of a confederate soldier, the maker of fine houses for important people, again stood tall.

Like everything houses built today have a shelf life of 20-25 years. But there was a time when homes were made to last. We are fortunate that we still have homes from that era. 

About Historic Zoning

Morristown’s Olde Towne historic districts were created in the late 1970s but they weren’t give any ordinances. I am guessing that people thought you had to be as extreme as Charleston. 

Here is an example of how an ordinance can be written. It does not interfere with personal taste or choice. 

In general, there is nothing you would want to do to your home (short of razing it) that you can’t do in a Historic District, as long as you meet Baltimore County building regulations and one additional requirement: Your proposed project must conform to the architectural style of the buildings on YOUR property.

If you are designing a new house, the design must be compatible with the homes surrounding it. Since there is such a wide range of styles developed over the year in the district, a builder has a wide range of styles to work from. your protection is that an adjacent property owner can’t build something that will wreck havoc on your property value.

The following are examples of the type of projects you can do in a Baltimore County Historic District:

  • Change your driveway material, or add a new one;
  • Add an addition;
  • Modify the interior of the home to your taste;
  • Landscape to your taste;
  • Erect a fence;
  • Replace your gutters with aluminum;
  • Replace or remove (or add!) exterior shutters;
  • Add a bathroom;
  • Modernize your kitchen;
  • Add a garage;
  • Put up a storage shed;
  • Put in a swimming pool;
  • Add a deck;
  • Put a hot tub on the deck;
  • Add storm windows;
  • Put in a patio (between the deck & pool?)

Baltimore County Historic Districts There are several historic districts in Baltimore County, including old Lutherville, Relay, Dundalk, Glyndon, and Sudbrook Park.
These communities elected to become historic districts for one or more of the following reasons:

  • To stabilize the community;
  • to prevent demolition by other owners;
  • To keep the area looking the same;
  • To prevent ugly additions to the structures;
  • To prevent “demolition by neglect;” or
  • For the prestige.