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This Mission Revival style 1912-13 building served as the headquarters of the Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company from its erection until the company was sold in 1970. It was built on the spot of two previous wooden offices that had burned down. The Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company came to Orange in 1877 and was the largest industrial concern in the area for decades. After the company was sold, this building became the headquarters of the Port of Orange, which it still serves as today.

  • Historic image of the office, c. 1920s. Image from the Eunice R. Benckenstein Library & Archive.
  • Historical marker at the building. 2016
The Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company was one of the largest lumber companies in the country at the turn of the 20th century, with its headquarters and primary mills located along the Sabine River in Orange Texas. Founded in 1868 in Williamsport Pennsylvania, the company moved to Orange in 1877 to take advantage of the inexpensive pine forests made available after the repeal of the Southern Homestead Act. Led by founder Henry J. Lutcher, the business rapidly acquired hundreds of thousands of acres of land spanning from East Texas to Central Louisiana. A boom was built along the river, where logs were stored until they could be fed into the 2 mills which at their height produced 400,000 feet of sawn lumber a day. In Orange alone the company employed over 1,000 people. Affiliated business were located throughout Texas and Louisiana, including at Wiergate TX, Lutcher LA, Donner LA, Lunita LA, and Farwell LA. 

Under the leadership of Mr. Lutcher's son-in-law, W.H. Stark, the company reached its greatest height, but also had to deal with hard transitions. By the late 1920s, the bonanza era of lumbering in the South had ended, with much of the virgin forests cut bare. Coupled with the onset of the Great Depression, these problems signaled the end of the mills in Orange. Lutcher & Moore survived though, operating a timber wholesale business in Orange and implementing new forestry practices to regrow their cut-out timber lands. From the 1930s onward the company was led by Mr. Stark's son, H.J. Lutcher Stark. As the forests regrew, the lands value grew as well and eventually most of the company's timber land was sold off. Upon the death of H.J. Lutcher Stark, his widow Nelda sold the remaining company assets to fund the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, which operates cultural venues in Orange and serves the local community in various ways. 

This building, the company headquarters, is the last remaining piece of Lutcher & Moore Lumber at the mill site in Orange. Constructed between 1912 and 1913, it replaced an older wooden headquarters that burned down (a frequent danger in lumber mills). This was the third office on the site, and specifically built of concrete to ensure it would be fireproof. Over time some additions were made to the building, including a set of maps built into the sidewalks detailing the extent of the Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company land holdings. Once the company was liquidated, its location made it an ideal spot for the administrative offices of the Port of Orange. According to the Port, it is available to tour during normal business hours. 
Orange County Navigation and Port District. Accessed February 15, 2018. Official website for the Port of Orange

Rienstra, Ellen. Stiles, JoAnn. The Long Shadow: The Lutcher-Stark Lumber Dynasty. Austin, Texas. University of Texas Press, 2016.