W.H. Stark House
A leak developed in the 3rd floor air handler of the W.H. Stark House. Water seeped through the 2nd floor ceiling and continued to the basement. Once discovered, staff worked feverishly to remove contents from the affected rooms and began mitigating the damage. We expect the restoration process, out of necessity for a historic home, will be long. Staff are contacting restoration and conservation specialists to get the best advice we can. Protecting the W.H. Stark House and its contents is our top priority. Consequently, the W.H. Stark House will be closed indefinitely as assessments are made. The Stark Foundation will share updates as restoration plans are developed.
The Stark House
The W.H. Stark House was built from 1893 to 1895. Fred Wilber, Miriam’s uncle, was the construction supervisor. The design of the House strongly resembles the home of Miriam’s parents. The Queen Anne style has many Victorian architectural features: bay windows, a turret, and an asymmetrical floor plan. Three brick chimneys with corbelling work connect to nine fireplaces.
The House was solidly constructed to survive the extreme weather that sometimes occurs in Southeast Texas. The foundation is brick with concrete plaster to offer structural strength and protection from high water. The exterior walls are ten inches thick with two layers of diagonal storm sheeting, while the interior double walls are sixteen inches thick. Cypress is the basic material for the structure, due to the damp conditions of the area. All of the lumber for the framework came from the family-operated Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company, and each board was measured and cut for a precise fit.
- First Floor: The first floor is where the Stark family did the majority of their dining and entertaining. The rooms have twelve feet high ceilings and nine feet high windows and doors. The front staircase is in the Eastlake style and shows off the curly longleaf yellow pine, which is used throughout the House. Six rooms are on tour on the first floor: the Front Hall, Library, Music Room, Dining Room, Back Hall, and Breakfast Room.
- Second Floor: The floorplan of the second floor mirrors the first floor. It has eleven feet high ceilings and a covered balcony almost completely surrounds the floor. The Stark family’s bedrooms are on the second floor. Five rooms are on tour on the second floor: the Front Hall Landing, Master Bedroom, Sitting Room, Guest Bedroom, and Blue Bedroom.
- Third Floor: The third floor has fewer rooms than the other floors with ten and a half feet high ceilings. It provided working space for the home’s original staff and large storage spaces. The third floor also has an apartment created later in W.H. and Miriam’s lives for their live-in nurse. Four rooms are on tour on the third floor: the Nurse’s Apartment, Master Closet, Sewing Room, and Tower Room.
- Carriage House: The Carriage House was built at the same time as the Stark House and matches its architecture. The downstairs housed the family’s carriages and later their automobiles. The second floor was the home of the Grinstead family, who lived and worked on the property for decades. Today, the Carriage House is used as a welcome center and exhibit space.