With family roots in Connecticut that date to the early 18th century, Morley has long been a vocal advocate for the preservation of the state’s historic heritage.
Specializing in historic preservation and architectural history, Morley regularly collaborates with state, municipal and private preservation groups throughout Connecticut to conserve threatened historic sites, structures, landscapes and viewsheds. Working with CT House Histories, LLC founder, Melanie Marks since 2010, Morley has authored numerous study reports involving early American structures, burying grounds and other non-renewable cultural resources.
In addition, Morley often appears before area groups to lecture on preservation matters – including the Connecticut Gravestone Network, the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, the Westport Historical Society and the Southport Conservancy. In 2010, Morley co-curated “Westport Modern, When Cool Was Hot”, a photographic exploration of previously undocumented yet significant modern residences in Westport and Weston. The exhibit, hosted by the Westport Historical Society and featuring the photography of talented preservation architect Michael Glynn, was well reviewed by leading modern architecture writers, received considerable media attention and was held over owing to strong public interest.
Morley’s other volunteer efforts include positions on various committees in his hometown of Westport – including the Westport Historic District Commission, the West Parish Meeting House Committee and presently, the Kemper- Gunn Advisory Group and the Saugatuck River Swing Bridge Study Subcommittee. In 2005, after being appointed Chair of the First Selectman’s Emily McLaury House Committee – a team charged with restoring a historic town-owned residence for workforce housing – Morley wrote the $250,000 plan of preservation, successfully obtained the appropriation and managed the project to completion. The McLaury project, which came in under budget, received a coveted Community Preservation Award from the Connecticut Trust in 2008.
To date, Morley has helped to establish four Local Historic Districts, four Local Historic Landmark Properties and a State Archeological Preserve – all in Westport. While serving as Chair of the Westport Historic District Commission from 2006 to 2008, he was also instrumental in persuading Westport’s legislative body to strengthen its demolition delay ordinance for historically significant buildings from the standard 90 days to the statutory maximum of 180 days – a first in the State of Connecticut.
Additionally, to encourage the retention and repurposing of historic buildings in Westport, Morley helped draft a new zoning incentive (Sec. 32-18) which provides greater flexibility to the owners of residential historic structures. Recently, one of Westport’s oldest buildings, the c.1710 Green House, was saved from destruction with the aid of this powerful preservation tool.