Appomattox Courthouse…Where it all ended…

One of my goals with business travel is to be able to slow down enough to smell the roses and to check out areas of interest along the way.  I’ve found out over the years that I will drive by places as I’m always in a hurry and never have time to stop.  I’ve always been interested in Civil War history and I’ve wanted to see where General’s Lee and Grant ended the conflict at the Appomattox Court House.   Recently I was within 75 miles of the historic location so my business partner, Darren, was kind enough to drive me there so I could go through it and see the museum nearby. It was at this home in this small village of houses that a General Lee sent in one of his men to find a place that he could meet with General Grant and surrender. The Village was mostly empty since there was the battle raging nearby. Wilmer McLean was asked to lend his home for the signing of the terms of surrender. There were many tears of both sadness and joy.

“The [American Civil] War Began in My Front Yard and Ended in My Parlor.” – Wilmer McLean.
One of my favorites stories from the Civil War is this house was owned by the McLean Family.  What makes that so interesting is that the McLeans also owned the property where the first major battle of Bull Run where the Civil War began, The Battle of Bull Run.  Ironically, Wilmer McLean moved away from Manassas to get away from the war but on April 9, 1856 the war landed on his front steps once again.
Near the home was built a Museum of the Confederacy that housed artifacts that better told the hardships and stories of the war.

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Chihuly in the Desert

This year, world-renowned glass artist, Dale Chihuly, returned the Desert Botanical Gardens for the second time to display his incredible works of art.  Chihuly is famous for his architectural installations around the world, in historic cities, museums and gardens. His work can be found in more than 200 museums worldwide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Corning Museum of Glass.

A few days ago our company, Velocity Retail Group visited the exhibit to take in the beautiful sites of Chihuly’s work against the desert canvas.  The colors and shapes are spectacular against a backdrop of blue sky, cacti, and plants native to Arizona.

In a recent interview with the Arizona Republic, Chihuly said,  “I’ve always loved the desert. I’ve done 12 garden shows, and this is one of the greatest shows I’ve ever done. I love working in the desert.”

Don’t miss this amazing exhibition.  It runs until May 18th.


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Mark Fantastic shots, Dave! His glass work is amazing. We had a Chihuly exhibit here in Nashville at the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, which was even more spectacular at night, as all the installations were lit up! Fantastic.

Star House, Home of Chief Quanah. Cache, Oklahoma.

I recently had a friend give me a gift of the  book called, “Empire of the Summer Moon.” It is a history of the Southern Plains which encompases most of the State of Texas. I love history and I love Photography so business travel lets me supplement my travels with my interests and capture the memories of both. The book is actually amazing and it is an important part of our American History that is not being taught in our schools. The Commanches were considered by the European immigrants as bararians and ruthless foes. They were deemed the greatest fighting force in the world on horseback. No one could match them. There lifestyle was based on being nomads that preyed on Europeans, and  Americans pioneers expanding West as well as other native Americans. I thought the Apache Indians were rough and tough. But they were fearful of the Comanche and were driven out of the Southern plains West to Arizona. Their  woman and children were traded as slaves for several centuries along with whites and Mexicans that were made slaves and also included in the Comanche tribe.

This part of my blog shows the end of my journey. Because of my recent travel, I have documented this part of the history first. The area around Fort Sill Oklahoma. Later I will work backwards as I explore where the war started in May of 1836 near Baylor University at Fort Parker.

The Quanah Parker Star House, with stars painted on its the roof, is located in the city of Cache, county of Comanche, in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in Comanche County, Oklahoma, in 1970.

Built by Comanche chief Quanah Parker circa 1890, the structure was purchased by his daughter Mrs. Birdsong upon Parker’s 1911 death. Originally located near the Wichita Mountains north of Cache on Fort Sill’s west range, Birdsong moved the house from its original location to Cache and sold it to Herbert Woesner in 1958. Although no one can be certain why Parker painted the stars on his roof, lore has it that he meant it as a display of rank and importance equal to a military general.The Preservation Oklahoma organization has listed the Star House as endangered.

After Parker’s surrender in 1875, he lived for many years in a reservation tipi. Parker decided that he needed living quarters more befitting his status among the Comanches, and more suitable to his position as a spokesperson for the white cattle owners. In order to accommodate his multiple wives and children, this two-story eight-bedroom clapboard house with ten-foot ceilings and a picket fence was constructed for Parker. Request for financial assistance was denied by the United States government. Parker’s friends in the cattle business, in particular Four Sixes Ranch ownerSamuel Burk Burnett, financed the building of the house. The cost of construction was slightly over $2,000 ($48,000 in 2010, adjusted for inflation). In his formal wallpapered dining room with its wood-burning stove, Parker entertained white business associates, celebrities and tribal members alike. Among his celebrated visitors was Theodore Roosevelt. Parker was a founding supporter of the Native American Church. His home was often the scene of practitioners who sought him out for spiritual advice. Parker fed hungry tribal members in his home and was known to never turn away anyone.


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August 9, 2016 - 11:21 am

Nicole Rivas-Weaver It is my understanding that the Star House is owned by a family member of Herbert Woesner named Mr. Wayne Gipson that refuses to sell the house. The Comanche Nation has offered to buy it, but he refuses to sell, and has said that he wishes that he had the money for its upkeep. I read this in a newspaper article. It seems like he should feel it his responsibility to maintain this national treasure and the memory of Quanah Parker and should do whatever he has to to see that that happens. I see it as disrespectful to both the memory of Quanah Parker and his family.

September 8, 2015 - 9:32 am

Greg Gentry I just visited Cache this past weekend. After meeting the Great Grandson of Quanah Parker it really stirred my interest. It was very sad to see the condition of the Star Home. I truly felt honored to have been able to see it and hear some of the story behind it. I only hope that either the Tribe or the State truly pursues this with a major attempt to bring it back to a place where it can be utilized as a museum. Thanks for sharing your photos.

July 23, 2015 - 1:49 pm

Irene Kelly-Puccino Are there not descendants of Herbert Woesner that will help with this project? I suggest that someone contact This Old House, maybe they will help out with restoration. They may even feature the project on the show.

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I Miss Old Abe…

One of my passions is American history and photography.  The two of these collided on a business trip as I found myself within a couple hours of the Abraham Lincoln Library, Presidential Museum, and Oak Ridge Cemetery where our 16th President was laid to rest (at least after 1901). There was one botched attempt to steal his body, where he was dug up in 1876 and was to be held for ransom.  His coffin was opened and viewed 5 times between the time he was buried and his final internment in 1901.

Abraham Lincoln Museum Montage

The burial stone is made of polished Red Arl Fossil marble from Arkansas and weighs 7 tons. Lincoln’s son, Todd, filled the vault with concrete so his father would no longer be viewed or moved.


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Baylor Bears Acro Takes on Oregon Ducks!

Baylor Tumblers show their stuff!


We definitely look better than Oregon!

The Bases are responsible for getting them up HIGH and bringing them back down SAFELY!

A graceful landing by Ally Cheatham!

Coaches look up for posted scoring!

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