Morris the Horse to be recognized with historic marker

Published 4:38 pm Thursday, July 2, 2009

Tryon Downtown Development Association has announced that Morris the Horse will soon receive a Historic Marker, which will emulate the North Carolina State Historic markers.

Having established a position of prominence on the corners of Trade and Pacolet Streets, Morris The Tryon Horse has proudly represented Tryon since 1928.

The first horse was built of wood by Meredith Lankford and Odell Peeler, two employees of Tryon Toy Makers, to advertise the First Horse Show held at Harmon Field in the spring of 1928 and sponsored by Tryon Riding and Hunt Club. Pulled by a car through town, The Horse would lift its tail and head when the reins were pulled. That larger-than-life-toy was secretly called &dquo;Miss Eleanor&dquo; by the boys to honor Eleanor Vance, their teacher; it burned in the 1930s in a warehouse fire where it was stored.

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The second Tryon Horse reportedly suffered an accident when it was stolen by a bunch of hooligans from across the state line and, in a valiant effort to escape, became a downhill runaway horse and crashed, destroying itself in the process.

The current &dquo;Morris,&dquo; as the Tryon Horse came to be known, is the fourth generation of Tryon Horses, and he has experienced a couple of facelifts. He is made of fiberglass and has found a home at the corner of Trade and Pacolet streets where he serves a variety of purposes.

He continues to advertise local events; he is a much-beloved and stately landmark; he is a meeting-place for casual exchanges. As he has appeared on Christmas ornaments, street signs, mugs and glasses, T-shirts ‐ all manner of items ‐ he has become a symbol of Tryon.