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Center for History and Culture hosts lecture on Lutcher-Stark lumber legacy

Book CoverThe Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast is pleased to host its inaugural student/faculty lecture, reception and booking signing November 9. The event will feature co-authors of  “The Long Shadow: The Lutcher-Stark Lumber Dynasty”, Ellen Rienstra and Jo Ann Stiles.

The inaugural student/faculty lecture will take place 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in room 108 of the Archer Building, and the community lecture, reception and book signing will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the University Event Center on the 8th floor of the Mary and John Gray Library.

Jo Ann Stiles retired from Lamar University as a history professor in 2002, after 36-year career as a history professor, independent author and researcher. Ellen Walker Rienstra is a contract historian and author for the Nelda C. and H. J. Lutcher Stark Foundation and the coauthor of several books.

The Long Shadow goes into depth about the past three generations of the Lutcher and Stark families and how they significantly influenced the history and development of East Texas, the American lumber industry, and the University of Texas. The book also confirms that the family’s legacy lives on through the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, which was established by Lutcher Stark and his wife Nelda in 1961.

“We loved getting to know this family. We loved researching the past three generations of this family. We started research about 14 years ago, which today is still unbelievable,” Stiles said.

Stiles and Rienstra explain how they had to interview so many people who were connected with the Stark and Lutcher family. When the people at the Stark Foundation wanted to know their history, the first person they reached out to for help was Rienstra, who then sought Stiles for assistance on the project.

Stiles believes that the history of the Stark family and the Southeast Texas area is very important. “As a retired history teacher, this has everything to do with you. I know this has everything to do with us. We need to know where we come from, and the events of those years are very important.”

Rienstra says knowing this history benefits all of Southeast Texans. “It is really their family history as well, they have hugely influenced the entire development of Southeast Texas. It improved the economy and the culture of Orange, Texas.

The Lutcher and Moore Company was founded in Orange, at one time it was one of the largest lumbering company’s in the nation. Stiles and Rienstra hope that readers will gain a new appreciation of the family and what they did throughout the years for the economy and cultural level of Southeast Texas. This is the first time that a complete history of the three generations has written.

For information about the book and the event contact Mary Scheer, department chair and director of the Center for History and Culture at Lamar University at (409) 880-8518.