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The city of Morris, Illinois is located about sixty miles southwest of Chicago. This rural community of roughly 12,000 residents is close enough to the metropolitan hub of Chicago to enjoy all the city has to offer yet far enough away to maintain its own small town identity.
The suburb is situated on the Illinois River, just west of where the Kankakee and Des Plaines rivers meet. The scenic beauty of the intersecting waterways is extended into the midst of the village by two other smaller rivers, Nettle Creek and Mazon River, which wind through Morris and provide beautiful residential properties and community areas. Morris can trace its origins back to the early and mid-1800s when the first European settlers built cabins in the region. The township of Morris was organized in 1849. Early manufacturers were attracted to Morris due to the system of connecting waterways in the area. Ease of transportation via water and land was a significant catalyst for growth in Morris. Not only does the Illinois and Michigan Canal run straight south of the suburb, but the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad cruises right through the town, adding to Morris' importance as a business and manufacturing hub. Today, the community boasts a thriving commercial base, in addition to its strong history of industrial production. Morris residents are proud of their small Midwestern downtown and shopping district, which attracts visitors from throughout the state.
Gebhard Woods State Park is thirty acres of parkland situated between the Illinois and Michigan Canal and Nettle Creek. The park features three fishing pools for anglers to try their luck reeling in bass, bluegill and catfish. Small fishing boats and canoes are allowed to traverse the fifteen miles between nearby Channahon State Park and Gebhard Woods. Tent camping and picnicking are also permitted at Gebhard and many Illinois residents just like to take advantage of the park's natural beauty with an afternoon hike.
Gebhard Woods is adjacent to the Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail which offers 61 miles of some of the state's best hiking and biking trails. Morris' park system is great for wintertime fun, too. As soon as the snow piles up to a minimum of four inches, snowmobiling is on the hot list of outdoor activities here.
Named after the one-time Illinois governor, William G. Stratton State Park was developed in 1959 to provide boat access to the Illinois River. Stratton Park has four boat launch ramps used by local residents and day visitors to put their watercraft in for a fun-filled day of water-skiing, fishing and simply taking in the sights. For those who prefer to enjoy the water from solid ground, there are designated picnic areas along the riverfront that offer great spots to watch the boating action.
With a small town appeal that seems to be vanishing from much of the Midwest, Morris is a well-kept secret for those who enjoy a more back-to-nature environment. The suburb is a good distance from the hustle and bustle of Chicago but isn't too far off the beaten path to make a commute impossible. This great location, semi-rural landscape and affordable housing makes buying a home in Morris an attractive option for many Illinois families.
There are great deals to be had on real estate in Morris with a selection of good-size single-family homes on the market for under $200,000. On the upper end of the price spectrum, houses are listed in the $400,000s and $500,000s with a few luxury residences for over $700,000. The residential real estate mix includes many older places with some newer construction available here and there. The Morris housing market is dominated by detached homes, however there is a healthy selection of condos and townhomes up for sale in the area as well. For the most part, pricing for attached real estate in Morris ranges from the low $100,000s to the high $200,000s.
Morris Residential Real Estate Info for Single-Family Detached Homes
|Average Sale Price 2005-2006||Average # of Days on the Market||Number of Sales 2005-2006||Average List Price||Number of Listings|
Source: Multiple Listings Service of Northern Illinois
The Rockwell Inn Restaurant (2400 West Route 6, 815-942-6224) is a restaurant and gift center that pays homage to the great American artist Norman Rockwell. The gift shop features more than 10,000 prints by the late artist, as well as mugs, figurines, postcards and other souvenirs. If you prefer to pay tribute to Rockwell's talents with a feast, then you're in luck. The Rockwell Inn has a lunch menu highlighted by classic sandwiches like the Monte Cristo, French Dip and Rueben, as well as a delectable entrée list including filet mignon, freshwater fish, seafood and a variety of steaks, salads and appetizers.
Another great choice for surf and turf in Morris is Chapin's (701 N. Liberty St, 815-942-1880). This friendly eatery offers an extensive menu with everything from ahi tuna steaks and lobster tail to sirloin cuts and porterhouse steaks. Chapin's has a great wine list to accompany your meal and a tasty dessert selection to top off the night. For something a little more casual, Al's Family Restaurant (306 Liberty St, 815-942-0921) scores points with patrons for its down-home American-style cooking at affordable prices served in a cozy setting.
Morris is like any other Chicago suburb with its share of fast food options. Pizza Hut, KFC, Subway and Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches are all represented with franchises in town, but at the top of the fast food chain is Culver's (1919 N. Division St, 815-941-1919). This quick bite eatery has made-to-order sandwiches and sides that offer a good alternative to other major burger chains we could name. Plus their custard sundaes, specialty shakes and other ice cream desserts trump the competition.
Despite its name, Just Kidding Around (218 Liberty St, 815-942-3999) doesn't kid around when it comes to finding cute clothes for kids. This shop is a great place to deck out the tots in new threads. It carries apparel in infant to tween sizes. For you athletes out there, regardless of age and whatever your sport of choice, if you need uniforms you can find them for the whole team at Athletic Outfitters (409 Liberty St, 815-942-6696). This is also the one-stop shopping spot to have those trophies and plaques engraved. Embroidering and silk screening services are also offered.
The Fabric Center (301 Liberty St, 815-942-5715) is indeed the center for those arts and crafty types looking to stitch up their old garments or create something new. New and used sewing machines, as well as cloth by the bolt, are sold here and parts and repairs are offered on older models. Maurices (100 Gore Rd, 815-942-1020) is a clothing outfitter with a Morris location offering all the latest fashions for women and girls. Find just the right style to match the season. The gentlemen can rely on Skluts Mens Wear (307 Liberty St, 815-942-1000) to set you up in style at a price that won't break your bank. Impress that special someone with a nice bouquet of flowers from Green With Ivy (306 E Jefferson St, 815-274-2277). Valentine's Day or Mother's Day or any day of the week is a good time for flowers.
For a night out on the town in Morris, a good place to start is by catching a flick at the Carmike Orpheum Cinema 10 (515 W Gore Rd, 815-941-1641), which features all the best new Hollywood releases. After a good movie maybe you're in the mood for a nightcap. Morris has an array of friendly neighborhood watering holes. Clayton's Tap (122 W Washington St, 815-942-3811) is a local favorite. In business for thirty-five years, Clayton's underwent a makeover in 2004. The tavern now features a beer garden and a back room, constructed so the bar can host live music and private parties. Clayton's also has a large lunch menu with all the usual suspects in bar food: buffalo wings, hamburgers, fries, tater tots, etc. Liberty Street in downtown Morris has even more choices for beer and good pub grub. Start your own pub crawl at Fools Bar & Grill (104 Liberty St, 815-942-1494) with stops at Ebbey George's Bar & Grill (402 Liberty St, 815-942-5892) and Bogies Sports Bar (615 Liberty St, 815-942-6969) in between. And if you've got anything left in the tank after that, hit the Lagoon Saloon & Grub Grill (811 Liberty Street, 815-942-3901) for last call.
For sixty years now Grundy County has been hosting its annual Grundy County Corn Festival in Morris. Held every September, this celebration of Illinois' favorite crop attracts hundreds of fans like ants to a picnic. There's plenty of food on hand (and corn of course) as well as fun with talent shows, pie eating contests, karaoke, live music; and what celebration would be complete without a parade?
- Shabbona Middle School
- Morris High School District 101
- Saratoga Elementary School
- Immaculate Conception School
- Ashley Road Baptist School
- Saratoga Consolidated School
- Grundy County Special Education Co-Op