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Quanah Parker Star House

City/Town:
Location Class:
Built: 1884 | Abandoned: ~1957
Historic Designation: National Register of Historic Places Native American Heritage Site
Status: AbandonedEndangeredPrivate Property
Photojournalist: Billy DixonJohnny FletcherJennifer BurtonLeslie FlamingAngie Brown

Chief Quanah Parker was known as being a progressive Comanche warrior and leader. He served as the last principal chief of the Comanche Tribe and was influential in settling the Comanche Tribe on a reservation in Indian Territory, as well as dealing with the White settlers. His understanding of the White settlers and how to make trades with them benefit the Tribe made him a progressive leader. He advocated for the leasing of pastures to the White ranchers and served as a judge when the federal government created the Court of Indian Offenses.

Construction on this home started around 1884 and was located at Fort Sill. It is two-stories and features ten rooms with a white picket fence surrounding the property. One of the most notable features of the home is the ten big white stars painted onto the red roof. A few stories have been told in regards to the meaning behind the stars, some saying it was a display of rank and importance equal to a military general. Owner Wayne Gipson was told by Parker’s descendants that Chief Quanah Parker had been to Washington D.C. to speak with President Theodore Roosevelt and while there had stayed in a “five-star hotel”. When building his own home ten stars were painted on the roof to resemble better accommodations than that of a five-star hotel.

Mrs. Neda Birdsong, daughter of Quanah Parker, stands before the historic Parker house as workmen prepare to move the 10-room building to Cache.

Quanah Parker passed away on February 23, 1911, and by the time of his passing had become a nationally known leader. Upon his burial at Fort Sill, his house was passed down to his daughter Laura Neda Parker Birdsong. Up until 1957, the house remained under Laura Birdsong’s ownership, it was then sold to Herbert Woesner and moved to Eagle Park in Cache, OK.

Eagle Park

The Star House was one of about a dozen historic buildings moved to the small town amusement park. There the house was used for many different events including family reunions of Parker’s relatives. With the historical value to Native Americans, Oklahoma, and the Nation the Quanah Parker Star House was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 29, 1970.

Since Eagle Park’s abandonment in 1985, the Star House has deteriorated, being listed on Preserve Oklahoma’s Most Endangered List several times. In 2015 a flood devasted the Cache community causing further damage to the already fragile house. While there have been a few different efforts to preserve and reconstruct it, the fact that the house is privately owned makes matters a little more complicated. While many are quick to comment negatively on the situation regarding the Star House and owner Wayne Gipson, many don’t understand that there is a little more to the story. 

Growing up Wayne and his sister Ginger helped run Eagle Park, it was the family livelihood and they wouldn’t have had it any other way. Wayne, who now owns his family’s amusement park and the diner in front of it, which is still open, also thought that he would be running Eagle Park for the rest of his life. But with many new laws, permits, and bigger competitors, opening the park back up seems like just a dream for many. Of course, Gipson would love to see the Quanah Parker home restored but it less than eager to take part in it if it means giving up ownership of the house. This has made things increasingly complicated in getting efforts jumpstarted. For Gipson, the Star House is one of the last pieces of his family’s once-bustling Eagle Park and he feels a sense of responsibility to his Uncle Herbert Woesner to keep it in the family.

Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan. 




Bibliography

https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=PA014

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quanah_Parker_Star_House

Quanah Parker’s Homephotograph[1899..1928]; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc962796/accessed December 23, 2020), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

[Photograph 2012.201.B0091.0953]photograph1957; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc250493/accessed December 23, 2020), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.

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Emily Cowan

Emily was brought into the Abandoned OK Team in December of 2019. “I’m not gonna lie I fangirled a bit. My first published post I was ecstatic, I felt like I finally had the right audience for my work. The opportunities that came with it made me love the website even more. I remember my first interview with a couple at Waukomis Christian Church. They had bought and restored the 1897 church and insisted on keeping the original sanctuary despite being advised on moving it. We talked with them for at least a good 40 minutes about the church, the abandoned Waukomis Middle School beside it, and the towns other disappearing buildings. They even rang the bell for us that has sat in the bell-tower for the last 120 something years ago. We could tell they were just as passionate about preserving Oklahoma’s dwindling history as we were. When interviewing people and hearing the first-hand stories and recollections of a place and seeing how a person connects to a building, it forms a connection between not only you and that person but yourself and that building.”

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Lynda Voigt
Lynda Voigt
1 month ago

This is a very important part of history and should be restored and preserved. It is a part of Native American history and U. S. History and should not be neglected nor forgotten. Our youth of today need to know of the struggles people went through to build this country.

Margaret
Margaret
1 month ago

Quanah Parker was my Great, Great, Great Grandfather on my father’s side of the family. I have read lots of information about him and am amazed at the person he was. To see some pictures of his house with furniture still in it is really meaningful to me. Wish I could see it in person! I hope there is a way to preserve this history!

Nila Haug
Nila Haug
1 month ago

Being a former owner/innkeepet of a 15 room/3 house bed and breakfast for 21 years, I see this building being restored to historic decor (updated for heat and water) and promote it to history buffs. It would have to be funded by grants, go fuepnd me, donations, etc. to keep the nightly cost very affordable, not a luxury inn cost. I think this is the time that younger people interested in true history would want to visit.

Mary
Mary
1 month ago

I wish the owner would sell to the state so it can be saved. At all cost, it’s a piece of history for more than the owner.

Tracy
Tracy
9 months ago

I would love to restore this property.

dan cassidy
1 month ago

was a beautiful place

Tracy Watson
Tracy Watson
1 month ago

y parents were both born and raised in Indihoma .
So I have heard about Oklahoma history all my life.
I am really enjoying this site.

trackback
8 months ago

[…] moved to Eagle Park, in Cache Oklahoma to join a handful of other historic buildings including the Quanah Parker Star House. The Saddle Mountain Mission church has remained on the defunct amusement park grounds and has […]

Rebekah Hooper
Rebekah Hooper
9 months ago

Is this somewhere i could go take pics at or is forbidden

Alan W Wika
Alan W Wika
9 months ago

I had a friend who was the Collections Manager at the Ft Sill Post Museum. I was visiting him one day and he opened up his storerooms and showed me an ordinary-looking bed, dresser, and chairs that belonged to Quanah Parker’s household. They look in surprisingly good shape even though they were a century old. He wasn’t sure how it ended up at his museum

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