Posts in category History of medora

Ed Schafer Retires from TRMF Board of Directors, Shares Optimism for Medora’s Future

After twelve years of active leadership and a lifetime of interest in and dedication to Medora, Ed Schafer has retired from his position as Chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF) Board of Directors.

Schafer delivered his farewell address to friends and supporters of TRMF on Saturday, June 11 at the annual Rough Riders Roundup luncheon in Medora.

He reflected on his long family history in Medora. His father, Harold Schafer, began investing in the revitalization of the town in the 1960s. “I traveled beside my dad to and from Medora long before the seeds of the new Medora were planted.” In 1986, he oversaw the transition of the Medora Division of the Gold Seal Company into the public non-profit Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

In his twelve years as Chair of the Board of Directors, TRMF grew and thrived in substantial ways. Historical landmarks, like the Von Hoffman House and the Ferris General Store, were restored. A campus-style employee work and social space, the Life Skills Center, was constructed. TRMF expanded its lodging offerings by adding the Elkhorn Quarters. And recent additions, such as Point to Point Park and the high-capacity accessible elevator at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre, were approved during Schafer’s tenure.

In his farewell remarks, Schafer said his passion for Medora stems from its ability to “inspire people to self-generate the attributes of freedom.”

Schafer told those in attendance: “I hope you can look around this place and think about endurance. The Badlands have survived glaciers, storms, erosion, petrification, and fires—and they’re beautiful. Let that be a lesson to us in life’s storms and difficulties. We can persevere.”

In a farewell letter to supporters of the foundation, Schafer expressed optimism for the future of TRMF. “Our organization’s success has been because of people like you. I am confident the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation has a bright future.”

Tim O’Keefe, TRMF’s new Chair of the Board, expressed gratitude for his predecessor’s long history in Medora. “As history and legend have it, some 60 years ago, Harold Schafer and his young son Ed stood on the top of the bluff overlooking Medora, when Harold said ‘This place is too special not to be preserved.'”

“Over the last sixty years, no one has been more a part of seeing Harold Schafer’s vision for Medora become a reality than Ed,” O’Keefe said.

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum also praised Schafer’s dedication to the service of others. “Theodore Roosevelt said ‘The great prize in life is the opportunity to work hard at work worth doing.’ Ed and Nancy Schafer grabbed that prize. The difference they’ve made in people’s lives, not just here in Medora, but throughout their entire careers, is really incredible.”

Remembering Harold Schafer and His Medora Legacy on His Birthday

Remembering Harold Schafer and His Medora Legacy on His Birthday

“My guess is that if I have a legacy, it’s going to be Medora, North Dakota.”

Those were the words of our founder, Harold Schafer, during an interview in 1997. In that wide-ranging discussion, he spoke about his philosophy on hard work, his success as a businessman, and the revitalization of historic Medora that he helped kick-start.

“Medora is real. It has real history. It’s not quite so flashy as Six Flags Over Texas,” Harold said, “but Medora has a greatness to it also.”

It was a greatness that couldn’t have happened without Harold’s help. In 1962 he renovated the Rough Riders Hotel. A few years later, the show we now know as the Medora Musical debuted in the Burning Hills Amphitheatre. And in the decades that followed, a run-down cowtown had become one of the country’s most exciting destinations for tourism.

“You can walk around the parking lot [at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre] and find cars from 30 or 40 different states in one night at the show,” he marveled in 1997.

That was twenty-five years ago—and it just so happened that during that interview, Harold was asked, “What’s Medora going to look like 25 years from now?”

Harold’s answer might surprise you: “I haven’t the slightest idea!”

He continued, “I had no knowledge it would ever be where it is now. I had no outline in my mind that it would grow like this. And if it should continue to grow, I don’t know what it’s going to be. But I think it’s going to continue to grow.”

We wish Harold could see what Medora has become 25 years after that interview. We believe he’d be proud of it.

On this, Harold’s 110th birthday, we’re remembering our founder fondly. We invite you to watch this excerpt from that 1997 interview. Harold doesn’t just discuss Medora; he covers his legacy, his philosophy of work, and more. It’s a fascinating look at a remarkable man!

Ask President Roosevelt

“Ask President Roosevelt” is a feature of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Member Newsletter, the Rough Riders Review. For five summers, veteran TR repriser, historian, and actor Joe Wiegand has brought Theodore Roosevelt to life on the matinee stage at Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater. During the off-season, Joe travels the country as TR, representing the Medora Foundation. As part of every performance, in character as TR, Wiegand takes questions from the audience.

 

Q: How did you spend your winter, Colonel Roosevelt? Any big plans for the summer ahead?

A: Like so many of you, Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays spent with family were the most special occasions. Of course, I toured the country, performing for audiences from Portland, Oregon to Saranac Lake, New  York. Like many a North Dakotan, the winter found me in Florida, Arizona, and Southern California, where thousands of Medora Musical fans follow the migratory fowl.

Traveling the country and telling people about Medora and the beautiful Badlands of North Dakota is a real honor and pleasure, READ MORE »

Greg Butler Steps Up Once Again

The Elkhorn Quarters $1 Million Match Challenge

There’s a brand new Medora lodging facility awaiting our guests this summer!

The Elkhorn Quarters, our new motel and seasonal staff housing complex, has replaced the old Bunkhouse trailers, and a big reason for that is the generosity of our longtime supporter Greg Butler of Fargo.

 

 

READ MORE »

Become an Annual Member Today!

Like Teddy’s original Rough Riders, Annual Members move the line forward each year to make Medora better for current and future generations. 

 

The TRMF Annual Member program began a few years ago to bring our frequent visitors and best friends into a group that met once a year at the annual Rough Riders Roundup, talk about the future of Medora, and help support the day-to-day activities necessary to provide all our guests a great getaway experience.

 

 

My, how it’s grown! Now, 800-strong, our Annual Members add value to Medora in so many ways: READ MORE »

The Shooting of Riley Luffsey

This is an expert from local Medora author, Rolff Sletten’s book, Medora: Boom, Bust, and Resurrection. It goes into detail on the shooting of Cowboy, Riley Luffsey.

 

The sheriff responded by sending a posse which has been variously described as including from three to twenty men.

“The actual number matters little in light of the posse’s feeble response. Unfortunately the sheriff put his much weaker brother, Henry Harmon, in charge of the posse. Harmon and his posse boarded the westbound train in Mandan. When they arrived in Little Missouri (the depot had not yet been built in Medora), they confronted the three hunters and told O’Donald he was under arrest. O’Donald, Wannigan, and Luffsey simply laughed at the timid deputy and rode away.

 

The three hunters rode west from the Little Missouri depot until they reached a spot about three-fourths of a mile straight west of today’s Little Missouri River bridge. there they encountered the Marquis de Mores and four of his employees.

 

Who fired first will never be known with certainty, as both sides adamantly blamed the other. But when the smoke drifted away, William Riley Luffsey, the twenty-four-year-old buffalo hunter from Missouri, was forever dead.”

 

Learn more about Medora’s spooky history during the 2nd Annual Wild West Fright Fest on October 27 and 28. Get more details here.

“Hell Roaring Bill Jones”

The man who was known in the Badlands as “Hell Roaring Bill Jones” was actually named “Patrick McCue”.

 

He had come from Ireland where, apparently, he had become embroiled in an argument with an uncle. The argument quickly deteriorated into an altercation and in very short order the unfortunate uncle had been battered senseless. Whether or not he ever woke from his slumbers is unclear but “Bill” quickly adopted his new name and packed for the New World.

READ MORE »

Schafer Stories

Schafer Stories

Schafer Stories: as told by Randy Hatzenbuhler TRMF President

  • Met the Schafers in 1988
  • Became President of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation in 1997

 

Interviewed June 19, 2017

 

“I came to Medora because of Rod Tjaden, who was as good of a boss as you could have.
But I stayed and fell in love with Medora because of Harold Schafer.
I remember my very first recollection of Harold.

READ MORE »

Margaret Barr Roberts

“The Most Wonderful Little Woman in the Badlands”

 

Margaret Barr Roberts was an Irish immigrant who moved to the United States when she was around 11 years old. Her life was one of travel and tragedy.

However, through the struggle and hardship, she remained optimistic; always looking forward, as TR would say, “Doing what she could, with what she had, where she was.”

And of course, she wasn’t alone. In fact, TR himself was there to help her along. READ MORE »

What we’d like to find under our Christmas Tree

What we’d like to find under our Christmas Tree

Howdy Pardner!

The Holidays are fast approaching! With cookin’ and travelin’ taking up most of your time, it can be purdy tough to find that great gift. Well, we did some figurin’ and found a great way to wrangle that perfect gift!

 

The Medora Online Store!

 

This here general store has everything you need for the Medora super-fan in your life! From the cuddliest Teddys in all the west, to historic books filled with colorful characters and rich in historical facts, we’ve got what you need this Holiday Season — just take a gander!

Badlands Teddy Medium Merchandise Page READ MORE »