In 1870, Starr and his son Frank opened the first bank in Marshall, Texas. Starr was instrumental in Texas's expansion as he aided in the growth of the railroad industry. He bought 52 acres for himself on which he and his wife lived and is now the land on which the historic site is located. Starr died in 1890 and Starr County is named in his honor.
In 1868, Frank married Clara Clapp, and they built Maplecroft in 1871 on the land that belonged to his father. He and Clara had six daughters who grew up in the home and lived nearby once they married. The home of Ruth Starr Blake, the second youngest Starr daughter, is a part of the historic site. She inherited Maplecroft and lived there until the end of her life. Ruth passed the home to her niece Clara Pope Willoughby, who eventually granted the home to the state as a preservation site.