In 1825 a trading post was established about a mile south of present-day Morrilton on the Arkansas River. This town, later named Lewisburg, thrived after being incorporated in 1844. In 1871 the Little Rock and Fort Smith Railroad built track through present day Morrilton. It was later named Morrilton after the previous landowners E.J. and George H. Morrill. The downtown grew around the Morrill's land and that owned by James M. Moose. Residents of Lewisburg eventually moved away from the river and to the railroad hub at Morrilton. In 1883 Morrilton became the seat of Conway County, Arkansas.
Many sites located in Morrilton are on the National Register of Historical Places, including: