Stark Hotel, as it was named from its opening in 1889, catered to
increased traffic from a variety of new visitors to Greensburg.
These visitors included "drummers" or traveling salesmen
who arrived in town, rented a room, rented livery from one of the
many livery stables in town, and went out into the surrounding communities
to sell their wares to company stores, rural residents and door-to-door.
Hotels such as the Stark also benefited from Greensburg's growth
as a cultural center. A number of "opera" houses, and
theaters were built during this period creating additional demand
for rooms for traveling troupes and theater patrons alike. The increased
activity for the Westmoreland County Courts also created the need
for additional rooms.
It appears that the Stark Hotel underwent a few name changes during
its history. It opened as the "Stark Hotel" in 1889. Sometime
after the First World War, its name was changed to the "Merchants
Hotel" and then in 1951, it again was renamed "The New
Merchants Hotel". Throughout much of the 50s and 60s until
its closing, the hotel was essentially a rooming house.
The Stark Block restoration project began in 1996 when the Werrin
Family generously donated the office building located at 33 West
Otterman Street to the Westmoreland Trust. In the fall of 2000,
the owners of the adjacent Stark Building, approached the trust
with a proposal to sell the property. After evaluating the property
and considering how it would fit into the Trust's mission and plans,
the Board of Directors approved the Stark Building's purchase in
2001. The newly renovated Stark Block has returned
two virtually unused buildings to productive reuse. The combined
properties are now called the Stark Block.