|City/Town: • Cache|
|Location Class: • Residential|
|Year Built: 1884 | Year Abandoned: • ~1957|
|Historic Designation: • National Register of Historic Places • Native American Heritage Site|
|Status: • Abandoned • Endangered • Private Property|
|Photojournalist: • Billy Dixon • Johnny Fletcher • Jennifer Burton • Leslie Flaming • Angie 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.
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.
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.
Quanah Parker’s Home, photograph, [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], photograph, 1957; (https://gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc250493/: accessed December 23, 2020), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, https://gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.