Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Medora: The Marquis' city

The Marquis de Mores.
The Marquis de Mores, a French aristocrat married to the beautiful and well-educated daughter of an American magnate, had a grand plan. To save the stress, weight loss and death of cattle shipped from the west to meat processors with eastern stockyards, he would corral and process the cattle near their home in North Dakota then ship the results east.

Medora, the Marquise de Mores.
With the financial backing of his father-in-law,  the marquis jumped in, founding Medora which he named for his lovely bride, building a 26-room summer home, the Chateau de Mores, and an enormous abattoir and packing house.

The smoke stack is the only thing left of the Marquis' abattoir. :Photo by Judy Wells
The man was ahead of his time and also spared no expense entertaining guests from abroad. The Armours and their ilk didn't like being moved in on and the Marquis' plan failed.

Teddy Roosevelt attired in New York version of buckskins.
However, he left behind a town in the beautiful northern badlands that became famous for another visitor, Theodore Roosevelt,. They said he arrived in buckskins tailored by Brooks Brothers, a knife and silver spurs fashioned by Tiffany's. His spectacles earned him the nickname four-eyes, but his grit, riding ability and personality earned him the respect of all around.

Teddy, on the other hand, credited Medora and the North Dakotans with teaching him enough about his fellow man while making a man out of him to enable him to be a successful president.

Ranch cabin from the Maltese Cross Ranch. Photo by Judy Wells.
He owned two ranches, the Maltese Cross and the Elkhorn, neither of which ever turned a profit except in molding his character.

Debi and Teddy, alias Joe Wiegand, chat. Photo by Judy Wells.
Debi slept where Teddy did. Photo by Debi Lander.
You can tour the Marquis' chateau, see an excellent one-man portrayal of Roosevelt by Joe Wiegand or, as Debi did, stay in a room at the Rough Riders Hotel where the man himself slept.

Rough Riders Hotel. Photo by Judy Wells.
Lobby of Rough Riders Hotel. Photo by Debi Lander.
Speaking of the hotel, it's a delight. Wonderfully located in the middle of town, well equipped and with an extensive library on the region and former president that guests are welcome to use during their stay.

Audience participation is a small part of the musical. Photo by Debi Lander.
The annual Medora Musical is hailed throughout the area as the highlight of every summer. The productions cater to audiences who like all-American, Up with People-type musical reviews with country western music. It doesn't start until 8:30 p.m. and kids may get antsy before all is done.

Wishful cowboys and girls will love the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.
North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. Photo by Debi Lander.

The town itself has a few touristy spots, but places like the

Post office and bank. Photo by Debi Lander.
• post office,

• bank,

Town Hall. Photo by Judy Wells.
• old Town Hall theater,

Firehouse. Photo by Judy Wells.
• firehouse

make up for any hints of phoniness.

The locals welcome you without a false note.

Just like Teddy, we thought it a bully good place.

We'll show and tell you more about why in our next posts.


  1. Excellent blog! This brings back so many memories. I'm going to link to you on my site, if you don't mind. ~ Michelle