BONNE TERRE -- With little tools and a lot of patience,
Don Jaster has built tiny replicas of some of Bonne Terre's oldest buildings.
Heritage Hall, or as Don calls it "the cash and carry
building" is his most recent project. Others may remember it as the YMCA,
the Company store, the bowling alley, city hall, or the St. Joe accounting and
As a company store, Flo said it sold food, clothing, coal and supplies for
"Every need was supplied by the store," Flo said.
All of Don's buildings are built of cardboard before he goes to the lumber
yard for wood. Many of the other materials are found around the house.
Don used tongue depressors to form the roof on his favorite replicas, Bonne Terre's very
first hospital and St. Peter's Episcopal Church.
"It just about drove me wild to make the tongue depressors stay on,"
When Don needed to furnish his miniature barber shop [view
#1 - view
#2], he took a light bulb apart to use a piece that would look like a
bottle of hair oil. When Don needed to furnish a miniature of his aunt's grocery
store [a/k/a Southside Grocery], he took a VCR apart to use pieces that
resembled miniature cans
of food. [other views: close-up
of front exterior and aerial
view of interior]
"It's amazing what he tears up to find parts for those things," said
his wife, Flo who does most of the landscaping for Don's miniature buildings.
Don also has a tendency to start a new replica before finishing the last one.
"She gets irritated at me for doing that," Don said. Working on one
project gets boring after awhile and when he becomes bored Don said he also
Don's interest in building replicas began several years ago when rumors
circulated that the Old Bonne Terre Depot would be torn down. Fearing that it
would be demolished, Don got out his camera and took several pictures of the
landmark. [See above for finished Depot.]
Don, who has always enjoyed woodwork, built the depot small enough so it could
be used with an electronic train set he received as a child.
Don and his wife of nearly 50 years, Flo spent several Sunday evenings driving
around the town that they both grew up in taking pictures of buildings that
meant something to them.
"When I have a notion to build one, I get the pictures out," Don said.
Once they decide on a building, they gather history on the buildings by reading books
about the area and by calling the owners of the buildings.
"Most people have really, really been helpful," Flo said. "But sometimes
it's hard to get information."
Flo called several people about an old log home that was recently demolished on Hillsboro
"That old log cabin has got to have some stories," Flo said.
Don's replicas of Heritage Hall and the old log cabin will be on display at an April
miniature show in St. Louis. Last year, Don displayed five Bonne Terre buildings at the
Don and Flo have been building dollhouses and miniatures for the past 15 years, but don't
sell any of their work.
"We didn't want to mess with it," Flo said. Flo and Don have given many of their
miniatures to friends as tokens of appreciation.
Many of the Bonne Terre miniatures are on display at Mineral Area College's Tourism
DailyJournal, Park Hills, MO., Wednesday, Jan 23, 2002.
LIBRARY TO DISPLAY MINIATURE BONNE TERRE
By TERESA RESSEL\Daily Journal Staff Writer
November 26, 2002
BONNE TERRE -- If you didn't have a chance to see tiny
replicas of many of Bonne Terre's historic buildings when they were on
display at the college's tourism center, you'll have a chance to see them
Miniature artists Don and Flo Jaster of the Bonne Terre area have donated
much of their miniature collection to the Bonne Terre Memorial Library.
The collection includes small miniatures of buildings that are still
Heritage Hall, the Library,
and several churches [St.
Joseph's Catholic Church and St.
Peter's Episcopal Church] . The collection also includes buildings
that are no longer standing like Dr. Hicks
Doris Smither, director of the Bonne Terre Memorial Library, said some
people have come into the library just to see the replicas.
"It's really neat for the older people -- and the younger people like
it, too," Smither said.
Smither said the miniatures have been placed high on the shelves to keep
them from being damaged.
The Jasters have not donated all of the buildings on display at the library
but they did donate most of it. There are five buildings which they want to
keep for sentimental reasons -- for example, the miniature of Don's
childhood home [
view #1 -
view #2 - view
#3]. [Note: This is the home which burned in 1938 when Don
was a child. His mother and his brother died in the fire.]
Flo said they researched the history of the buildings as
much as they could and tried to make the miniatures accurately depict the
real buildings. Some of the miniatures like Don's childhood home [referred
to above] were built from memory.
Finding out the history of each building is important to the Jasters. Flo
said they are still trying to uncover the history of an old log cabin that
was located on Old Hillsboro Road between Hazel Run and Route Y. The Jasters
took pictures of the old cabin just before it was torn down a few years ago
and have made
a miniature of how it may have looked when it was first built.
Flo said two of their miniatures are on display at the Miniature Museum of
Greater St. Louis on Gravois Road across from Bevo Mill. One is a replica of
a grocery store owned by Don's aunt several years ago. The other is Santa
and his elves' Christmas log cabin.
Flo said the museum director saw their miniatures on the Jaster's Web site
and asked them to display these two replicas in the museum. The miniatures
will be on display at the museum through the first of the year.
Other Bonne Terre Miniatures
Jaster Home - Great-Grandmother of Don Jaster
Farmer's and Miner's Bank
Small Neighborhood Firehouse
Terre Post Office
View other Jaster miniature creations at:
Don & Flo Jaster
& Flo's Webshots Album
Click HERE to e-mail Flo Jaster
with questions or comments
about Don's miniature creations.
THE LITTLE BOY WHO SURVIVED A HOUSE FIRE
By TERESA RESSEL\Daily Journal Staff Writer
Daily Journal, October 22, 2005
BONNE TERRE - In 1938, he was the little boy who survived a house fire that killed his
mother and brother.
The fire, several battles with cancer, and heart disease never kept Donald Jaster down.
But on Friday, Donald died at the age of 74 at Barnes Jewish Hospital shortly after
undergoing surgeries for lung cancer and to repair the defibrillator for his heart.
He and his wife of 53 years, Flo, have been featured in the Daily Journal several times
for the miniatures and replicas of historic Bonne Terre buildings they made together.
He spent quite a bit of his time building things with his hands that were
once crippled by the fire that took his home and family when he was 7 years
Sharon Misplay, his daughter, believes Donald spent about a year in
Shriner's Hospital after the fire. He received a train set after the fire.
She believes the city gave it to him.
“When he was 14 years old, he started making houses to go with the train,”
After that, he didn't really stop making things even through his heart
attacks and battles with cancer. Misplay said before he died he was working
on a replica of the old Bonne Terre Elementary School.
“It's only half-finished,” she said.
Donald's miniature buildings have been displayed at the Mineral Area College
Tourism Center, the Bonne Terre Memorial Library and the Shepard House,
which houses the Bonne Terre Chamber of Commerce.
When city hall moves to a section of the old elementary building, those
miniatures will be displayed there.
He and his wife worked together making replicas of the historic churches,
the library, Heritage Hall, doctor's offices, a grocery store and a barber
shop, as well as other buildings that meant something to him and his wife.
His interest in building replicas began when rumors began
circulating that the Bonne Terre Depot would be torn down. Don got out his
camera and took several pictures of the building. He built a replica that
was small enough to be used with the train set.
He and his wife then began spending evenings driving around taking pictures
of buildings and collecting as much history as they could on each building.
Although both struggled with illnesses, they built dollhouses and miniatures
together for more than 15 years. Some were built from memory while others
were built as accurately as he could get them.
He found many parts of his miniature buildings around the house such as in
the form of tongue depressors for roofs on the old Bonne Terre hospital and
St. Peter's Episcopal Church, and a part of a light bulb for a bottle in the
barber shop, and pieces of a VCR for miniature cans in the grocery store.
Flo did most of the landscaping and the accessorizing for the buildings.
Misplay said her dad made yard decorations for all seasons and holidays. He
loved the holidays.
He also made dollhouses, doll beds, and other toys for his
“If he could make it with his hands, he did,” Misplay said.
She said she and other family members couldn't tell that his hands had ever
been crippled. He had even learned how to play the organ.
When he decided to work at St. Joe Lead Company, no one thought he would
last but he worked there for 35 years.
From looking at him, Misplay said no one would have known he had battled
different types of cancers for sometime. She said he never complained.
“He was active to the end,” Misplay said. “He never slowed down.”
Her parents, who began dating when Flo was 14 years old, have always been
active. She said they were active in a lot of things including scouting,
camping, and square dancing.
“He just loved people,” she said.
Lisa Roberts, said she wants her grandfather to be remembered as the “sweet,
honest person he always was.”
“He was a fighter from day one to the end,” Misplay said.
“He loved people more than himself,” Lisa's husband, Tracy, said.
His visitation will be held at 5 p.m. today, with prayer service at 6 p.m.,
at the C.Z. Boyer Funeral Home in Bonne Terre. Funeral services will be held
at 11 a.m. Monday at the Boyer Chapel.
OBITUARY - DONALD JASTER
BONNE TERRE - Donald P. Jaster, 74, Bonne Terre passed away
Oct. 21, 2005, at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He was born March 9, 1931, in
He was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church and the Miniature Museum
Society of Greater St. Louis.
He was preceded in death by parents, Frederick and Leona (Mouser) Jaster,
son, Kenneth Ray Jaster, sister, Loretta Hoehn, and brother, Thomas Jaster.
Survived by wife, Florence (Pierce) Jaster, married June 1, 1952; children:
Sharon, Mrs. John Misplay, Bonne Terre, Donald (Alberta) Jaster, Bonne
Terre; grandchildren: John Eric Misplay and friend Ginger Richardson, Lisa
(Tracy) Roberts, Kimberly Jaster and Michaelina Jaster, Marja Misplay and
Marlo (Rhett) Anderson; great-granddaughter, Lacy Rae Roberts; sister,
Visitation 5 p.m. Sunday, Prayer Service 6 p.m. at C.Z. Boyer & Son
Funeral Home, Bonne Terre. Services 11 a.m. Monday at C.Z. Boyer Chapel,
with Rev. John Schneider. Interment, St. Joseph Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to American Cancer Society or Heart Fund.
TOWN & BUSINESS