Sunday, September 23, 2012

Medora, North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, southern entrance, in Medora, ND.
We arrived in the booming town of Medora, ND, population 100, which has the entrance to the south unit of  Theodore Roosevelt National Park.   Medora is a western town that does a great business in the summer time (the biggest attraction in the state of North Dakota) and while we were there they also had the  ND Petroleum Conference going on so things were popping in the small town.

Medora was named for the wife of the Marquis de Mores, who was an aristocrat from a wealthy French family.  His wife, Medora, was the daughter of a banker in New York who also was raised in wealth.  With backing from his father-in-law he moved to North Dakota and purchased 44,500 acres of land to take up ranching.  He tried to revolutionize the ranching industry by shipping refrigerated meat to Chicago by railroad thus bypassing the Chicago stockyards.  He built a meat-packing plant in the town he founded in 1883 and named for his wife.  He also built a 26-room house for his family in Medora which still stands today and is called the Chateau de Mores.

While the house was considered only a summer home for hunting by the de Mores family, it was quite the place in Medora, North Dakota.

They had many guests from New York who took a four day train ride to reach their home.

Many of the furnishings are original to the house and on display.

The kitchen where the meals were completed.  The de Mores brought their own staff from New York each time they traveled to the west. 

Privacy was a precious commodity in a house with servants so the Marquise ordered multi-colored paper in the pattern above to be applied to the glass on all interior doors.  The product was called, "Eureka Stained Glass, A Perfect Substitute for Stained Glass".  

This was the tub of the Marquis with his toilet to the left.  I still haven't figured out how that tub worked.

The Marquis bedroom.

The Marquise's bedroom was right next door.

Her commode was smaller but more elegant.

This was the main living room for the family and guests. Note the bison hanging from the wall.  Both the Marquis and his wife loved to hunt and she was considered the better shot by the locals.
An original turning book case.  The de Mores were avid readers and Teddy Roosevelt, who lived a few miles away, often  came for dinner and borrowed some of their books.

The smokestack is all that is left in Medora of the packing plant that de Mores built in 1883.

Alas, the Marquis was not the best at business and three years after he built the packing plant it was closed.  During those three years he got into several duels with the locals and eventually killed a man.  He was arrested three times, tried once and acquitted.  He and the family went back to France where he became involved in other political and risky initiatives that eventually led to a trip to Africa where he was murdered by some tribesmen. 

The Teddy Roosevelt National Park has a scenic 60-mile loop drive that we enjoyed.  The Badlands can be a very stark area.

The daytime temperature was nice but the evenings were cool.  The hardwood trees were changing colors which made the overlook of Medora from the park quite beautiful. 

Throughout the park were many 'prairie towns' inhabited by the local prairie dog.

You could see them everywhere in the park, there must have been thousands of them, and they were fat and sassy.

In the distance is the Little Missouri River.  The West has been very dry so the plants and animals are struggling.

The Captain at a Badlands overlook.

A beautiful view from near the top.

While in the park we came upon a herd of wild horses.  They were curious about us and stood their ground.

Several of the males got kind of frisky (if you know what I mean) but we deleted those pictures.

This big boy kept walking closer and closer toward us (I think he wanted the hat).  Finally, the Captain beat it to the car safely. 
Later we came across some bison.
This big boy was watching us.......

while this big boy was enjoying an afternoon snack alongside the road.
Interspersed among the bison were the ever present  prairie dogs who were smart enough to keep out from under their feet.
We stopped at the Painted Canyon inside the park to watch the sunset.

Just a few of the pictures we took............


Due to the crowds, we decided to take pictures of Medora on the way out of town.

It was only 9 AM so the streets hadn't been taken over yet.
We also left very quietly because the local mortician was up kind of early.  Must have been a bad night........I wonder if there was another duel.

And that's about it for North Dakota.  It was a stretch to keep busy for three days in this area but then, maybe that's just us.  On to South Dakota and Mount Rushmore.  Peace!




No comments:

Post a Comment