Wednesday, May 26, 2010

S Is For Stars, Shawnee Indian Mission And Smokey The Bear

S is for Stars.


Do you know what these are?  Cast iron stars.  They are actually huge washers used in brick and masonry construction.   They were bolted to the end of tie rods that kept brick walls  connected to the joists.   Sometimes called "masonry stars" or "wall washers", they help prevent walls from bowing and also helped reinforce walls during an earthquake.

S is also for Shawnee Indian Mission, a state historic site, and as you look through these pictures you will see stars like these on the walls.  The Shawnee  Mission was a school where they brought  native children and tried to teach them "civilized" white people skills such as sewing and weaving.  We look back at that period of history with some sadness, and realize that those children should have been allowed to stay with their own families and be raised in their own culture.





Wood shed on the Mission property.

Salad makings in the Mission garden.

Strawberries in the garden.

A strong fence.
Prairie schooner.


And totally unrelated to the rest of the this post... S is for Smokey the Bear.    He taught me to take care of the trees and animals in the forest.   I bet you all remember  "Only YOU can prevent a forest fire".
(This photo was taken by my dad and may not be borrowed or pinned.)
My big sister and I with Smokey.

Hope you enjoy reading all about the letter S on Jenny Matlocks' Alphabe-Thursday.

Also linking to Vintage Thingie Thursday with The Colorado Lady.


64 comments:

  1. What pretty pictures. I love the star washers. I like how you decorated with them. I hope you are doing well!! How 'bout this humidity?

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  2. What beautiful photos, and an interesting s post. I've always loved buildings with those stars on them. I thought they were really neet "decorations", DH informed me of their real purpose. But I still think they are cute! Kathy

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  3. Fun S post. Love the photos and I do love those stars!

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  4. Very informative post. I never knew about star washers before and, yes, the story of the Shawnee Indian Mission is sad. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. What an interesting post!!! Who knew about those stars? Sad about the Indian children...
    I love the Smokey pic with you and your sister. (cute!) and your strawberries are really coming along...YUM!!!!!
    Thanks for sharing your s! You are getting close to the end of the alphabet! {:-o Hugs to you.

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  6. Great "S" post. We enjy the Shawnee Indian Mission--it's not
    too far from where we live.

    Melinda

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  7. Great "S" post and I love the photo with you and Smokey the Bear, I always wanted to meet him when I was younger. Blessings, Vicky

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  8. I love those stars , they would look good at Christmas with cards hanging down from them. I agree with the children being moved thought you shared. As do gooders some people in the past made decisions not for the best how sad .
    Thanks for vist

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  9. Oh no!...now I have the Smokey the Bear jingle running through my head!
    Great 'S' post - loved the Prairie Schooner and the mission photos. Such missions were a Sad part of our Canadian history too.

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  10. Lovely post!

    Have a nice day & hugs,
    Carolien

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  11. Pretty pictures of my kind of place!

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  12. The garden looks so yummy. I bet their salad would have been super.

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  13. Interesting history. I never knew about masonry stars. The mission is a sad reminder of two cultures in conflict.

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  14. What a special entry. I always have admired those stars but never gave a thought to their real purpose other than decorative. I learned something new and it isn't even 7 a.m. yet.
    I love, Love, LOVE the mission. I do also agree that the children should have been kept home to learn from their forefathers.
    Every park we camped at had Smokey the Bear...an embedded lesson.
    Thanks for sharing

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  15. I'm so glad to learn where the stars came from. A couple of years ago it became all the rage to have stars on your home and no one could tell me the origin. This makes perfect sense.

    I've heard and read horror stories of the mission schools. Not a proud time in our history.

    Thanks for dropping by. To answer your question, the star-shaped flowers are from a bush 2 houses down and the complex one is actually very tiny and is in my garden.

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  16. Love all the photos but especially the STARS!!!

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  17. Beautiful photos and love the stars...and of course smokey bear! Have a great VTT!

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  18. I enjoyed your "S" post today. I really like the picture of the fence!
    I saw your comment about my upcoming birthday....mine is June 4th...when is yours? We'll celebrate together via our blogs!!
    Have a great day.
    Jane

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  19. Fun blog.. love the pic of you and your sister. Seems you may have grown up around the same decade I did? Perhaps.

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  20. Great pics! Love the fence! :)

    ~Liz

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  21. I'm not sure if I have ever seen star's like that and certainly didn't know what they were used for...but...now I do and will be keeping an eye out for them.

    Sometimes history lessons can be sooo sad. The mind and heart of man can be so decietful and harmful at times.

    OK, now I have to tell ya...my dad worked for the BLM and Smokey the Bear was a big part of our lives. I haven't thought of him in so long. I think it is because I grew up in the west and when I got married we moved to the east and lived by the water and didn't get to hike or camp very much. Thanks for that walk down memory lane :) Have a great day!

    ~Nancy~

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  22. Wow, thanks so much for the great "S" post and for the wonderful Smokey the Bear memories!! I remember him and the commercials all too well.:)
    Fondly,
    Ann
    @
    The Tattered Tassel

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  23. Wonderful post - we lived in Olathe, KS and explored many places in the three years we were there. You gave a good history - thanks.

    I have seen those stars everywhere in decorating these days - and replicas, but I didn't know the history.

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  24. Interesting post, I had never seen such stars before.

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  25. What a sweet, spectacular spread of :S:'s for us today!

    i have never seen stars, except for when I bumped my head last summer, but that's a long story! lol

    love the gardens too!
    well done

    ciao bella
    creative carmelina

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  26. Always Loved the Letter 'S'...being a Sue...and of course Stars. Neat to find out the Deco Iron Stars actually had a very important role in holding up old buildings. Wonderful photos of the buildings and the mission. Thanks for your visit to my VTT Maytag post...Sue

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  27. that is so fun. i love old buildings with those stars on them. I knew they must have had a purpose....i just never knew what that purpose was.

    Thanks for sharing!

    yummy pics!

    shell

    gypsylemonade.blogspot.com

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  28. What a wonderful Alphabet post for the letter S, Gayle. In this part of the country we see stars on so many outbuildings...mostly as a decorative feature, but after reading your post, I'm wondering if maybe those stars I am seeing are to be like replicas of these masonry stars.

    Great post...great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

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  29. I loved this post...all things of such interest to me...history, and those stars...how cool are they? Enjoyed my visit...Namaste

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  30. p.s. it's me again! :-) Just remembered I wanted to say thank you for sharing about your daughter. After I sent you the previous comment about her, I went back and reread your "R" post and realized that your moving her to the house had nothing to do with what she is doing this summer. Glad to know that you'd have been in touch if you'd been in our neck of the woods.
    The area you shared about is pretty, but then I think all of our great state is pretty! lol

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  31. Very nice pictures! I enjoyed the S's :) - Tammy

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  32. Very interesting post...though I doubt the stars would have done any real good in an earthquake of any substantial magnitude. In Charleston, they used rods through the whole house to try to reinforce them!

    San Francisco's earthquake standards, of course, over the years, have evolved and our structures are much more earthquake "tolerant" - but, when Mother Nature really decides to incur her wrath, get out of the way.

    Very sad the the Indian children were removed from their homes.....too bad teachers weren't brought to them...yet another tragedy we "superior" white men inflicted on humanity.


    My poetry book - Life's Journey by Carmen Henesy - is out on Amazon!! Finally, at the age of 65, I did it!
    ( These are poems about the things that have been important to me in my journey through life, some humorous, some sad, some that may have meaning to you as well )
    http://www.amazon.com/Lifes-Journey-1-Carmen-Henesy/dp/1451547366/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1274652997&sr=1-1

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  33. I never knew that about those stars but have seen them at antique stores. Thanks! I agree with you about the native american children, instead of making them learn to be like us, we should have let them stay with their families! It would have made a big difference and I know we really corupted their beliefs! I would love to pick some of that lettuce for a summer salad, thanks for the great post!

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  34. Great post! My grandparents (from Albuquerque) lived right down the street from a large Indian school. I remember there were still children there when I was very young but it closed in the later 1960's and was torn down in the 1990's to make way for a park.

    I am a huge star fan and love masonary stars :)

    Blessings!
    Gail

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  35. The stars are interesting. I never knew about those before.

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  36. Thank you for sharing the Shawnee Mission with us. The history of our treatment of Native Americans is so very heartbreaking.
    Love the stars! I miss that utilitarian things used to be made by craftsmen and were so decorative.

    Happy VTT!
    Sally

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  37. Those are awesome stars! They look super on the house too. Love the pic of you and your sis...so cute!

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  38. At first I thought the stars were decorative. Goes to show how much I know. It's a sad thing what happened to those children. I never knew that. Thanks for sharing part of history with me.

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  39. The cast iron stars are so interesting--both highly functional and yet decorative. I'd never heard of them before. Fascinating.

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  40. I love those cast iron stars. I'm so love the photo of you and your sister.

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  41. I love the star washers! Very nice photos.

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  42. I love this post! I do remember Smoky the Bear. I also own one of the star washers. I use it to prop open my cookbooks when I need to.

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  43. Thanks for your visit...this is a beautiful place, love the stars, didn't know they were used for that! :D

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  44. Thank you for your post today. I've always been curious about Shawnee Mission as it is near there that my ancestral tribe (Potowatomi) is from.

    Have a great VTT!

    Sarah

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  45. Interesting and informative, thank you for such a wonderful post.
    *hugs*deb

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  46. I love those stars. I have quite a few of them collected over the years and people rarely know what they are!

    How fun!

    The mission is lovely but I think, honestly, my favorite part of this post is the picture of you with Smokey the Bear! That is really darling!

    It would be fun to have that blown up!

    Thanks for such a neat stop on our little journey through Alphabe-Thursday's Letter "S"!

    A+

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  47. I agree with your thoughts about the Mission School. How sad when we do not appreciate other cultures, but believe that everyone should be like we are. Thanks for your post :)

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  48. Looks like an interesting place. Very pretty, too! Twyla

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  49. I did not know that about those stars.. and I have 2 of them!!! Thanks for the great post today. xoxo

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  50. What interesting things you have shown, and some beautiful pictures of the Shawnee Mission. I remember Smokey the Bear, and have quite a few pictures that look a lot like yours with my sister, ha (though none next to a Smokey sign). Thanks for sharing these!

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  51. That picture of you and your sister with Smokey is just adorable! I feel so dumb. I always thought those metal stars were decorative! I'm so glad to learn why they are on buildings! laurie

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  52. Very interesting! I didn't know about the washer stars.

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  53. I never realized those stars actually had a function!

    My giveaway is over, please stop by when you have a chance :)

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  54. love those stars ... I had never heard of star washers before ... very interesting!

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  55. Terrific VTT post! Thank you for explaining the masonry stars-I never realized the stars on brick buildings were just decorative!

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  56. i like that fence. pretty cool.

    thanks for reading about seth. so now, now you have to wait until w (and that's if i "revive" the presence of another character, which is a pretty big if) or a for august. sorry, sweetie. :[ that's all i got.

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  57. I really love old sheds. their are some near where we go in BC and one of these days I am so gonna break in!

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  58. New information for me. I will watch for them too, now.

    Did you by chance see that his name is Smokey Bear instead of Smokey the Bear? I learned that when my son did an expos speech in Speech & Drama in high school and came home and told me that.

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  59. those star washers are fascinating...i had no idea..but i have seen and admired them on buildings.

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  60. The salad makings in the garden look very healthy. We have the same sad history with our aboriginal children.

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  61. I love the star washers :) Hope you are having a lovely weekend xx

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  62. I would never have thought the star washers had a purpose other than for decoration. Interesting about the mission.

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  63. I adore Smokey Bear! Every time I see him I make sure to give him a hug. He is such a vivid memory for me when we went camping in our nearby national parks.

    Thank you for sharing a part of all our history today. The stars are so beautiful and the building is too, but not how those children were separated from their families.

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  64. Very interesting....who would know that about the stars. I thought they were just part of your decor at first! Thanks for the comments on stringpiecing on my blog. You will have to give it a try.

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THANK YOU for your thoughtful comments. Replies to your questions will be posted here, so be sure to check back soon. Have a wonderful day! - Gayle, Garden Of Daisies