Lutcher & Moore Lumber Company Office
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.
Backstory and Context
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.
Rienstra, Ellen. Stiles, JoAnn. The Long Shadow: The Lutcher-Stark Lumber Dynasty. Austin, Texas. University of Texas Press, 2016.