Maplecroft Mansion, a place name worthy of the privileged landed gentry of Great Britain, actually exists in the Texas Forest Trail community of Marshall. In fact, land acquisitions, strategic government appointments, and the savvy business acumen of Dr. James Harper Starr and son Frank helped build Maplecroft, ultimately home of four generations of Starrs beginning with Frank Starr and his wife Clara Fry Clapp. The Starrs established one of Texas’ first land agencies and their success as agents (and bankers) may be attributed as much to Dr. Starr’s appointment as president of the board of land commissioners, then Secretary of State under Texas Republic President Mirabeau Lamar, as his grasp of Texas property laws.
After the Civil War, in the midst of Reconstruction, the Starr family invested in land, ultimately accumulating a real estate portfolio exceeding one million acres. Maplecroft represented the genteel rewards of financial and political influence well-invested.
Today, the Starr Family Home State Historic Site, a Texas Historical Commission property, houses artifacts and collections, including the original books, clothing, and furniture of Starr family members from the late 19th century. In addition, visitors may enjoy the extravagance of Starr family offspring in Ruth Starr Blake’s collection of Louis XVI-style furniture, Persian rugs, Venetian glass, and her eclectic collection of porcelain birds.