Oklahoma Ghost Town Keeps Quanah Parker Alive
CACHE, Oklahoma -- Quanah Parker and Herbert Woesner Jr. never met each other. In fact they were born almost a hundred years apart. But these two men shared an appreciation for southwest Oklahoma and its history.
Just outside the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Cache, Oklahoma, there's a rusty old sign that promises rides and camping "for the whole family." Eagle Park though, has been shut down for over 25 years. But it was and still is a unique place where southwest Oklahoma history comes alive.
And it was one man's vision that made it happen. Herbert Woesner Jr. was born at Ft. Sill and spent his whole life in and around the Lawton area. He was fascinated by the story of Quanah Parker and the Comanche leader's impact on Oklahoma.
And when Parker's house was in danger of being torn down, it was Woesner who rescued it. Neda Parker Birdsong, Quanah's daughter, was living in the house when Ft. Sill acquired the land it sat on. She asked for Woesner's help to save the house, and in a short time Woesner not only moved Parker's house to his property, but found another house for Birdsong to live in.
Parker's house became the centerpiece of Woesner's "old town" at Eagle Park. Over the years Woesner moved over a dozen old buildings to his property, most of them in danger of demolition.
But Parker's "star house" has always been the main attraction. The two-story house, with its 14 white stars painted on the red roof, still has original furnishings inside, although some were stolen years ago. Supposedly Quanah visited a general at Ft. Sill and noticed stars at the entrance to his home. He was told that the stars signified that a general lived there. Quanah considered himself a general also, so he had his workers paint 14 "indian" stars on his own roof, with the star points down.
The house and its grounds are still used by the Parker family and members of the Comanche tribe for powwows and other events.
But this fantastic piece of Oklahoma's historic puzzle wouldn't be here if not for Herbert Woesner, who died last April at the age of 83.
How strange that these two men, worlds apart, fought so tirelessly to preserve the same Oklahoma heritage.
LEARN MORE ABOUT QUANAH PARKER EVENTS SCHEDULED AT EAGLE PARK, INCLUDING EVENTS JUNE 11-14, 2009.