Medora Vallombrosa (1856 to 1921) was the wife the French Aristocrat, Marquis de Mores. They were married in Cannes, France and lived in New York and Paris. Her and the Marquis summered and hunted in these very Badlands and eventually lived here for a time. You know our town is named after Medora, but here are ten things you may not know about our towns namesake.
Posts in category History
The Marquis De Mores, whose real name was Antoine Amedee-Marie-Vincent-Amat Manca de Vallombrosa, came to Little Missouri County in March of 1883. His master plan for the area was to build a meat packing plant and then ship his processed beef on refrigerated cars to the east coast; essentially cutting out the middle men. Through this, and many of his other exploits, the Marquis left and indelible impression on the history of this area. Here are ten things you may not know about the Marquis De Mores.
Six “Teddies” and one Mrs. Roosevelt to be featured in performances throughout the day, Wednesday, August 6.
(MEDORA, ND) – The actor James Whitmore portrayed Theodore Roosevelt in the play “Bully!” on Broadway. Actors Brian Keith, Tom Berenger, and Robin Williams have played TR in film. North Dakota humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson has rivaled his own Thomas Jefferson with his version of TR.
Medora, North Dakota, is one of the many places where an actor or re-enactor has been known to portray Teddy Roosevelt, so it is more than fitting that Medora and the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation are playing host to the first ever “Gathering of TR’s”, a performance review and conference featuring six Theodore Roosevelts and one Edith Roosevelt, TR’s second wife and First Lady of the Nation. The gathering is slated for Wednesday, August 6, Mrs. Roosevelt’s 153rd birthday.
Desiring to move on professionally and get out of the political arena, Joe Wiegand’s career took an ironic turn: It ascended him to the White House.
Now then, we know the current U.S. president is Barack Obama and that nobody named Joe Wiegand has ever actually served as commander-in-chief, but, during the early years of the 20th century, a man named Theodore Roosevelt did serve as president and six days per week every summer, Wiegand channels his inner bully to perform as America’s 26th president in Medora.
On Monday, Wiegand donned his black three-piece suit and top hat during one of the final hot days of the summer of 2013 as he delighted close to 40 spectators at the Old Town Hall Theater with his performance “A Theodore Roosevelt Salute to Medora.” READ MORE »
1. Experience the greatest show in the West: the Medora Musical! You’re sure to have a toe-tapping time at the Burning Hills Amphitheatre as you enjoy our wide variety of country and western music and the amazing talents of our performers.
2. Where else can you enjoy meat that has been prepared on a pitchfork and accompanied by the greatest side dishes in the west and a great view of the Badlands? Enjoy the Pitchfork Steak Fondue when you visit Medora!
3. It was good enough for Teddy Roosevelt. And that was before it had indoor plumbing! READ MORE »
1. The rows in the Burning Hills Ampitheatre are designated by letter. There are no rows lettered “I” or “O” in order to avoid confusion with the numbers one and zero.
2. Medora’s original stage production “Old Four-Eyes” ran from 1958 to 1963.
3. The Burning Hills Ampitheatre is considered the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation’s first major project. READ MORE »
Medora is full of exciting adventures. We are highlighting the top 13 things that we think you should explore when you get here!
1. Medora Musical – Yee-Haw! Kick up your heels with us at the Medora Musical, performed nightly at 7:30 p.m. MDT. Click here for more information!
2. Ice Cream – I scream, you scream we all scream for ice cream! Enjoy a delicious cone piled high with creamy Medora-made ice cream! Learn to lick fast though, it goes fast in the Medora heat! Find out more.
3. Bully Pulpit – Spend a day and play at the breathtakingly beautiful Bully Pulpit Golf Course. Ranked one of America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses, you will surely learn to speak softly and carry a big stick! For more information click here.
4. Explore Medora – There are many hidden treasures throughout the charming town of Historic Medora. Find the best Tomato Mac soup in town, enjoy a latte, eat some pizza, take an Old Fashioned Photo or just walk around the quaint streets. Step back from the busy world and enjoy your time here, we are sure that you will adore every minute of it. READ MORE »
We got asked a great question on twitter. And it got us thinking.
What is North Dakota like? Maybe you had the same #RandomMiddayThought.
To some, it’s that place on the map next to Minnesota and below Canada, it is just a frozen tundra with wagon trains and buffalo roaming the plains. Chances are those people have never discovered North Dakota.
To others, it’s the place that their ancestors homesteaded. It’s a place where they came to re-live a part of history. It’s a place that they’ll never forget. To some, it’s a place with wide open spaces. It’s a place that harvests the land to feed millions. It’s a place that seems cold and harsh.
But, to many, it is home. It is a place where people love to live their lives. It is so fabulous in fact; that people can look past the seven months of freezing weather to enjoy the beauty that winter lays upon the land and look forward to the five magnificent months of summer that they know are soon to come. There is something magical about North Dakota that makes you fall in love. Whether it is the majestic Badlands that surround Historic Medora in the Southwest or the glorious views as far as the eye can see in the Eastern Red River Valley, North Dakota will find a place in your heart.
The people who call North Dakota their home are the heart and soul of our state. From those born here to those who have simply spent a short while here, North Dakota will surly leave an impression on you.
We are proud to have so many talented individuals from our state: Roger Maris, Josh Duhamel, Louis L’Amour and Lawrence Welk, are just a few.
We take pride in our North Dakota values. Values of family, the importance of hard work, and respect for the land flow through us. Theodore Roosevelt, who spent time in the North Dakota Badlands once said, “If it had not been for what I learned in North Dakota, I would never in the world have been President of the United States.”
North Dakota is bursting with history. Whether it is Theodore Roosevelt, the Marquis de Mores or Harold Schafer who had a vision to preserve the experience of the Badlands, the historic character of Medora and the heritage of Theodore Roosevelt, history is alive in our state.
The upswing of the oil and gas industry has given North Dakota a new buzz of energy. We have welcomed many families into our state, and are proud of our strong economy. Numerous job opportunities are now available across the state which opens the doors for new visitors to come to North Dakota and explore the wonder of our state.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself. Come stand in a wheat field, close your eyes and listen to the whispers of the wind, or visit Historic Medora to spend a night under the stars watching the “Greatest Show in the West”, the Medora Musical. I dare you. You will fall in love too.
For decades, families, parade-goers, employees, park rangers, Medora Musical cast members, and countless others have enjoyed the 4th of July holiday in this patriotic little town.
Sheila Schafer, the unofficial “First Lady of Medora”, is busy gearing up for the 4th at her log cabin home in Medora. She may be eighty-seven years old, but her calendar is jam-packed with appointments, lunches, interviews, family time, and frequent evenings watching the Medora Musical. When I stopped by this week, she was baking all-American apple pies in preparation for the arrival of several relatives over the course of the next few days. A neat row of American flags—which she proudly notes are labeled by the manufacturer “Made in the USA”—wave in the wind from her front yard flower beds. And of course, 400 ice cream bars are chilling in her freezer (…we’ll get to that later).
When asked why Medora is such a fun place to celebrate the Independence Day holiday, she quickly replied, “Well, there’s three big reasons to come out to Medora on the 4th of July. First, we always have a big crowd at the Medora Musical, and those kids [the Burning Hills Singers] are fired up and ready to do that show! Second, we put on a great parade. Third, we put on a big fireworks show that no one can beat, and everyone congregates on my lawn to watch.”
The 400 ice cream bars await employees and volunteers who come to take in the fireworks show at Sheila’s house, the best view in town. Sheila and a crew of helpers happily hand out the ice cream to the people who keep Medora running all summer long. Around 11:15pm, members of the crowd quiet down, lie on blankets looking up at the stars, and await the dramatic artillery of a fireworks show that will light up the sky and shake the ground beneath them.
Sheila (pronounced “shy – la”) is the widow of Harold Schafer, owner of the Gold Seal Company, founder of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, and the philanthropist who lovingly poured money and energy into the rejuvenation of the town of Medora in the 1960s.
Harold passed away more than a decade ago, but Sheila says she thinks about him more during the 4th of July than any other time during the summer season in Medora. “After Christmas, the 4th of July was Harold’s favorite time of year! He was very patriotic. He so honored people that served. How proud he would be that we’ve got a grandson now that just got his sergeant stripes in the National Guard.” In fact, Sheila tells that in Harold’s will, one of his wishes was that Medora continue to hold 4th of July Parades and a big fireworks show every year.
When Harold and Sheila were younger, they spent 4th of July holidays riding horseback in the Dickinson and Medora parades, duded up in Roy Rogers-like apparel. Sheila is proud of the number of parade entrants Medora usually sees, saying the parades here used to be much smaller. She laughs, “Bill Sorensen [of the 4-M Revue] used to joke during his show that our parade was so small, we would just park the parade and let the people walk around it! Now we get a pretty good sized parade.” Harold was also known to buy hundreds of little American flags and send Sheila downtown to hand them out to all the children on the boardwalks of Medora.
This year, Harold would have been 100 years old in February. Sheila knows he would be proud of the patriotic pride still on display today, and throughout the year, in Medora.
If you’ve never been to Medora or haven’t visited in a long time, you may wonder if Medora is just a place for cowboys and musical enthusiasts. Cowboys and music lovers abound—it’s true—and they can be seen daily sauntering through town enjoying the view from the saddle, or reveling in the rhythms of the famous Medora Musical. But for those of you with a wide range of interests, Medora offers a lot to visitors who take the time to explore—more so now than ever before.
A surprising aspect that visitors to Medora are discovering is the artwork to be found throughout town. Some examples of art in Medora are obvious, and others are more subtle. You will discover artwork infused with the flavor of the Old West, along with more modern works inspired by nature that add to the visual interest of Medora.
Enjoy these examples and many more when you are here, and feel free to share your Medora art discoveries with us as you find them! Check out www.medora.com/events for special art shows and feature artist events throughout the spring, summer and fall seasons.
Old Town Hall Theater, 1930s Murals
Guests can catch an entertaining show in the Old Town Hall Theater every day of the week (“A Teddy Roosevelt Salute to Medora” Mondays through Fridays at 4pm, and the “4M Revue” Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm and 4pm).
However, stop in early to take in original murals on the interior walls of the theater. The Old Town Hall was built in 1924, and traveling artist Joe Breckenridge created the murals in 1936. He then returned in 1960 to touch up his work.
Harold Schafer Heritage Center Patio Lawn, Wind Sculptures
A much newer addition to the artistic side of Medora, these wind sculptures were added in the past month. Five unique metal sculptures, hovering like trees above your head, spin and swirl in the North Dakota breeze.
These sculptures were gifted by the John Andrist family of Crosby, North Dakota, and are located at the Harold Schafer Heritage Center Patio Lawn, adjacent to the historic Von Hoffman house lawn.
North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame, “Cowboys and Indians: Alive and Well Today” Art Exhibit and Sale
Along with its fascinating permanent exhibits, The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame is currently featuring this traveling exhibit of art.
The gallery pieces speak to the very purpose of the museum: honoring the heritage of Native American, Ranching, and Rodeo culture.
Take in this colorful exhibit, and while you’re visiting the museum, appreciate the artwork on display in the permanent exhibits such as the beaded Native American moccasins shown here, and the bronze pieces adorning the outside of the building by North Dakota sculptor Arnie Addicott.
I had to look twice – no, that’s not a longhorn grazing on the lawn of a local merchant’s business, it is in fact a usable grill!
This creative cooker and a colorful herd of mini-horses add to the color and fun you will experience walking the streets of Medora.
Lyle K. Glass Photography
You’ll find his work displayed in frames and as greeting cards in various locations throughout Medora. And if you’d like to get a shot of Lyle himself (and maybe even an autograph!), you’ll likely find him outside the Badlands Pizza Parlor in downtown Medora.
Theodore’s Dining Room, stained glass windows
When the Rough Riders Hotel Dining room was refurbished and renamed Theodore’s Dining Room in 2009, the interior underwent a total transformation. One of the beautiful additions to the dining room is a set of identical stained glass windows, placed back to back and looking out onto the dining room on one side, and TR’s Tavern on the other.
The windows were gifted by Jim and Joanne Kack, who purchased the pieces from a Minnesota stained glass collector in the mid 1980s. The glass was thought to have originated from the Church of the Redeemer Episcopal Church in Superior, Wisconsin, which opened in January 1892. Two similar pieces given by the Kacks are also displayed above the front desk of the adjacent Rough Riders Hotel in Medora.