The heart of Mt. Morris is our beautiful town square. It became a college campus of the Rock River Seminary in 1839, nine years before the Village was incorporated. It remained a college campus through ownership by the Methodist and then the Brethren Church, until a fire forced the Mount Morris College to close in 1932.
We still call this picturesque town square “the campus.”
Each building and landmark on the campus has a unique and distinctive story to tell – from Old Sandstone, built in 1855 with locally quarried stone and survivor of two fires, to the Freedom Bell, declared the official Freedom Bell of Illinois by the state legislature in 1971.
Today, the campus is thriving – home to businesses and organizations, and the community’s gathering place for concerts, festivals, and events, with permanent seating and free street parking. Although the buildings are not open for tours, the grounds are open year-round for exploring, picnicking or just relaxing.
In 2022, the National Trust placed the campus area on the National Register of Historic Places. You can take an audio tour of the campus to learn its history by calling 815-261-9186 and entering a number for the tour stop. Each tour stop has a 2-minute history of that building or landmark.