rural New York sight - stars on houses

Hey folks…

We were driving through rural parts of NY State last week, namely the area between Watertown and Potsdam and noticed a common sight was a large star hung on the sides of many houses. There were blue, silver and I believe red ones, sometimes more than one per house, but never two different colours on the same house. Is this strictly a local adornment, or is it, as I suspect to signify that there is a member of the residence serving in the military? What leads me to this is the proximity of Fort drum to where we were.


I have no idea, but we’ve got them here in suburban Massachusetts too.

I believe it is to signify that a member of the household is currently in the military or has been a member of the miltary.

There is a color code but I am not familiar with it.

I think you’re seeing barn stars, which are merely decorative.

Could be a Service flag if the stars are on banners. Otherwise, probably a barn star.

The house next door (suburbs) has a big rust colored one on their house. It looks nice, they’re sold in artsy-crafty type stores around here purely for ‘country’ decor, and every other catalog I get features them.

I have a large black star on the front of my white house. I purchased it in Smicksburg, PA from a store that sells Amish stuff. It is (in my case) simply decorative.

Suburban and rural New Jersey too. I always thought they were an offshoot of the American Flags that appeared on so many houses following 9/11, which grew into sort of a patriotic decoration. I don’t think I saw any of them before that date.

It sounds like you’re talking about “hex signs”. We used to have one on our house in PA when I was a kid.

Not hex signs. The OP is talking about barn stars, which are Amish/PA Dutch but apparently have been co-opted by the Kitschy Ersatz Rural Decoration industry.

Huh. I’ve never seen any of those…

Barn stars are very common around here, in southern PA. They are mostly a rural tradition, and aren’t strictly Amish/PA Dutch. We have one on our house. It’s just for decoration. As Dewey Finn’s link says, they are supposed to bring you good luck, like hanging a horseshoe above your door.

It’s a Yankee thing.

First saw them in Dayton, Ohio, about four years ago. Like the OP, I thought they were a military thing (Dayton has a big Air Force base). And then, suddenly, they were everywhere. Within weeks my neighbor here in Massachusetts had one. I’m totally sick of them by now.

Around here it usually means Christmas Tree Shops is having a sale.

+1 …

I would rather have a traditional hex sign on my barn, maybe ill get mrAru to make me one :stuck_out_tongue: