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Monday, August 8, 2022

State fire marshal investigating blaze at landmark home in Leesburg

The Leesburg Fire Department responded to a fire alarm early Tuesday morning at the Historic Mote Morris House at 1195 West Magnolia St.

Firefighters arrived on the scene at 2:30 a.m. and had the fire under control within one hour. This was a one-alarm fire. No one was inside the building and there were no injuries.

The Mote Morris House in Leesburg.

The state fire marshal is conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the fire. The Leesburg Police Department will also assist the fire marshal in determining a cause and respond as required. The city’s Building Department is in the process of making a determination as to whether or not the building needs to be condemned. In addition, the City is arranging for a claims adjustor to assess the damage and determine salvage value or a repair estimate if the building can be repaired.

The Mote Morris House has been the home of the Leesburg Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber will relocate to the City’s Business Incubator Building at 600 Market St.

The Mote Morris House, was built in 1892 —shortly after the town of Leesburg was platted —for eight-term Leesburg Mayor, Edward H. Mote. It was added to on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. Bishop Henry Clay Morrison purchased the home as a retirement residence in 1908.   In 1918, the home was sold to John S. and May James Morris and a member of the Morris family would live in the house for the next 70 years.

On Sept. 1, 1990, the Mote Morris House relocated to its current location, from its 1021 W. Main Street address.  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 of late Victorian Architecture and has been known as one of only a few original residences remaining.

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