THE MORRISTOWN Historic Preservation Association is a passionate group. So much so, that the western Belmont County organization has won a state award.

The MHPA has successfully championed the cause of purchasing and restoring the Black Horse Inn, one of the last remaining National Road inns and taverns. The group’s thorough work has not gone unnoticed.

The MHPA has been named the recipient of the 2013 Milestone Historic Preservation Award from the Ohio National Road Association.

The Morristown group launched an ambitious fundraising drive this year to purchase Black Horse. Its efforts were aided by the inn’s owners lowering their asking price. Helping seal the deal for MHPA was a grant from the Belmont County Tourism Council.

The acquisition took place in August while the MHPA received its the Milestone Award Nov. 22 in Columbus.

In presenting the award, Ohio National Road Association 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 agree with those sentiments.

The Black Horse Inn is a piece of Americana. It is a structure that holds a special place in Belmont County annals, as it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It served as the third stagecoach stop from Wheeling during the heyday of the National Road and continues to maintain mystique of National Road travelers to this day.

The MPHA is no stranger to awards. The Ohio Historical Society bestowed Public Education and Awareness Awards to the group in 1991 and 2003.

The Morristown Historic Preservation Association has exhibited boundless energy and vision in ensuring that intergral sections of Belmont County’s history do not vanish. We commend the MHPA for its unwavering zeal to preserve precious Belmont County history.