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The Times Leader

December 4, 2013

Group receives ONRA Award

MORRISTOWN Efforts to preserve a storied piece of local history have earned recognition on the state level for a local non-profit group.

The Morristown Historic Preservation Association received the 2013 Milestone Historic Preservation Award from the Ohio National Road Association (ONRA) for mounting a successful effort to purchase and restore the Black Horse Inn, one of the last remaining National Road inns and taverns.

The Milestone Award was presented at the ONRA Annual Meeting which was held at the Florentine Restaurant in Columbus on Nov. 22.

In announcing the award, ONRA board member and past president Cyndie Gerken said, “This year’s winner has gone well beyond advocating (to preserve historic buildings) by demonstrating both an appreciation for the potential of what lies beneath the surface, and the ambition to take on the project.”

“We are honored by this award and thank ONRA for recognizing us for this effort,” said John Rataiczak, president of MHPA. “This gives us confidence that we have embarked upon a project that is noteworthy on both a local and state level.”

MHPA began raising funds after the inn’s former owners graciously reduced the selling price to the non-profit earlier this year. A grant from the Belmont County Tourism Council then made it possible for MHPA to purchase the Black Horse in August.

The Black Horse Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and its original frame portion was built in 1807. The Black Horse gained notoriety as the third stagecoach stop from Wheeling during the heyday of the National Road and continues to hold the interest of National Road travelers in the 21st century.

This is not the first time the Morristown group has been recognized. The Ohio Historical Society bestowed Public Education and Awareness Awards to the group in 1991 and 2003.

The National Road, initiated in 1806, was America’s first interstate highway, paving the way for settlement of the west. It ranks as one of our nation’s most unique roadways, designated as both a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road by the Federal Highway Department in 2002.

For more information, go to ONRA’s web site . To learn more about Morristown, log on to


ONRA representatives Denna Johnson, Cyndie Gerken, and Doug Smith, and Pamela and Tom McCort, accepting the Milestone Award on behalf of the Morristown Preservation Association. Photo courtesy Ohio National Road Association.

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