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W. H. STARK HOUSE

W. H. STARK HOUSE. The W. H. Stark House in Orange, Texas, is the restored home of William H. and Miriam Lutcher Starkqv. It is the only surviving structure of many that once lined a tree-shaded residential neighborhood. Today, the house stands in the modern Stark-Lutcher complex, which also includes a museum, a theater, a church, and a park. William Stark, one of the outstanding financial and industrial leaders of Texas, purchased the land where the house is located on June 29, 1893. Construction of the residence began in late 1893 or early 1894. The fifteen-room, 2½-story, wood-frame villa was completed around 1894, and shows the influence of two similar architectural styles. Massing and floor plan of the structure are asymmetrical, and this, plus horizontal bands of such disparate exterior walls and finishes and gable-end finishes as drop siding, fishscale shingles, boxcar siding, and radially fluted raised panels, point to the Queen Anne style popular in the 1880s and 1890s. The prominence of bay windows and the hexagonal turret also suggest Queen Anne. The structure also reflects the Eastlake style in its lathe-turned trim and extensive use of curved and carved brackets. The arched and radially spindled gallery trim popularized in Newport, Rhode Island, was widely used in contemporary homes. Whatever the architectural influences, design of the house clearly addressed the Orange environment. Twelve-foot ceilings, nine-foot-high windows and floor sills in the majority of the downstairs, a clear north-south orientation of prime living areas, roofed eight-foot galleries serving every room, and an open-air gazebo-like structure supported by a columned porte cochere all contributed to comfort in a semitropical climate. The house stands much as it did at the turn of the century, when the Starks used it for their frequent entertaining. Its original furniture reflects a period and style to match the architecture. The house has distinctive silver with patterns custom designed for the owners by American and European silversmiths, antique and fine oriental rugs, and exquisite china and crystal. The residence is a unique and vivid reflection of the culture and style of life enjoyed by the Starks at the turn of the century. The W. H. Stark House was designated as a Texas Historic Landmark and entered in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The house is owned and operated by the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation and is open to the general public.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Drury Blakeley Alexander and (photographs) Todd Webb, Texas Homes of the Nineteenth Century (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1966).

W. G. Riedel III

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

W. G. Riedel III, "W. H. STARK HOUSE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ggw01), accessed July 10, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.