Miriam Melissa Lutcher Stark was born January 23, 1859, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. She came to Texas with her family at eighteen years old when her father relocated his business, the Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company. In Orange, she met W.H. Stark. The young couple married just before Christmas 1881. In 1893 the Stark family began construction on the House and they were living in the home by 1895. It was built in the same architectural style as her parent’s home.
Miriam was close to her mother, Frances Ann Lutcher. They traveled together across the USA and abroad to five continents. Miriam became a passionate collector of art, books, and decorative objects. Beginning in 1925, she donated a collection of rare books and manuscripts to the University of Texas. The collection included early and significant editions of the English Romantic and Victorian authors and some significant pre-1700 manuscripts.
In 1904, her love of reading and desire to help others led Miriam to start a reading contest at Orange High School. The Miriam Lutcher Stark Contest in Reading and Declamation continues today in all Orange County public high schools. Miriam died at age seventy-seven on November 27, 1936 just a few short weeks after W. H.