Every organization and community faced the pandemic challenges of 2020; few can feel as fortunate as the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation (TRMF). Thanksgiving for Medora and TRMF have a historic dimension this year.
First, there is the remarkable announcement from the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation that they have achieved their first milestone goal of securing $100 million in private commitments to build the Library near Medora. Congratulations to them! Our team continues to work with the Library Foundation in many ways, and we’re thankful for their effort to bring this one-of-a-kind experience to North Dakota.
Not being able to open for the season in 2020 was a very real possibility. It would have been understandable. We are thankful for a board that had the confidence and courage to operate. In spite of challenges, 2020 was incredibly rewarding.
We are thankful for our customers. They came to Medora and they raised our spirits with comments, cards, letters, emails, texts and phone calls telling us how important it was for them to be in the Badlands – and that Medora and the Musical made them feel positive about their state, their country, and life.
We are fortunate that the Medora Musical, the Pitchfork Fondue, horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, and the Bully Pulpit Golf Course are in peaceful and spacious outdoor settings. Guests felt safe.
We changed the way we operated to go beyond state and CDC recommendations. Guidelines would have allowed for 75% capacity; we limited our Medora Musical capacity to 45%. Our cast and crew put on two shows for most Saturdays and Sundays so that we kept capacity low and met demand.
We are thankful for the results and the people who made them possible. We achieved about 80% of a “normal” year’s visitation.
We are thankful for our volunteers – there is no way we would have made it without them – and thankful for our many partners who all pitched in to do things differently in this very unusual year.
Medora provided a needed place for recreation and entertainment. It is a privilege to be part of an organization that believed in its vision, “to connect people to Historic Medora for positive, life-changing experiences.” We are deeply thankful for our generous donors and members who encouraged and supported us as we strove to live up to that vision.
One of the most rewarding comments of the year was also one of the shortest: a simple, hand-written message on a sticky note that read, “Thanks for being tough, when it’s tough.” We’re thankful we had the chance to work hard, to be tough, to find new ways to do something good for North Dakota this summer. We’ll keep working to be ready for 2021, too. For that we’re thankful.
We wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season.
Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation Selects Snøhetta for Design Architect Commission of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora, North Dakota.
MEDORA, NORTH DAKOTA — The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation unanimously voted to select Snøhetta for the Design Architect commission of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library. Snøhetta will design only the 15th presidential library in the nation. The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be located in Medora, North Dakota.
Theodore Roosevelt lived and ranched in North Dakota for the better part of two years after the tragic deaths of his wife and mother in 1884. Roosevelt returned to the Badlands and Medora almost every year until his death in 1919. Theodore Roosevelt National Park – the only of the 62 national parks named for a person, let alone a president – includes Roosevelt’s Elkhorn Ranch, known as the ‘cradle of conservation,’ and will be a critical part of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library plan.
“Snøhetta’s thoughtful design captures the spirit of Theodore Roosevelt and why he came to the Badlands. T.R. came to North Dakota for solace and solitude; the Badlands healed and renewed him, and gave rise to a newfound resiliency. In return, T.R. led our country as the 26th president and dramatically expanded our national park system,” said Melani Walton, chair of the Design + Architecture Committee for TRPLF and a board member of the National Park Foundation. “The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation is confident Snøhetta can carry T.R.’s legacy to future generations.”
“One of Theodore Roosevelt’s most enduring legacies is conservation and our national parks,” said Theodore Roosevelt V, a great-great-grandson and namesake of the 26th president. “This will be the only presidential library alongside a national park and the only national park alongside a presidential library. It will invite visitors to see and experience the very cradle of conservation. That is why this location in North Dakota is perfect for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.”
Snøhetta emerges from an intense design competition that began with over forty (40) firms under consideration by the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. After issuing a Project Brief on December 15, 2019, fourteen (14) firms were invited to respond to the Foundation’s Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on April 6, 2020, and twelve (12) were able to participate. The Design + Architecture Committee narrowed the field to six (6) with virtual interviews during the pandemic, and announced three (3) finalists on May 18, 2020. Those finalists were: Snøhetta, Studio Gang, and Henning Larsen.
Snøhetta, Studio Gang, and Henning Larsen sent teams to Medora, North Dakota, future home of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library, in June 2020. These sessions included surveys of the preferred site as well as meetings with the local community, stakeholders, and residents of both Medora and Billings County. The design concepts from each firm were released to the public on August 17, 2020, and all three firms returned to Medora to present their concepts in an open session of the Board of Trustees and a community open house on August 18, 2020.
“Three world-renowned architectural firms came to North Dakota in the midst of a pandemic — twice! — to compete for the commission of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library,” said Edward F. O’Keefe, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. “Snøhetta, Studio Gang, and Henning Larsen were in the arena and we are forever grateful. Their passion, depth of commitment, and enormous creativity made this an incredibly difficult decision.”
All residents of Billings County were invited to participate in the open house and, even those that did not attend were invited to contribute feedback on the design concepts at http://trlibrary.com/contact.
“When designing a new project, we think about how we can more give to the site or community than is initially asked of us,” said Craig Dykers, founding partner of Snøhetta. “We integrated the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library into the landscape of the North Dakota Badlands. The main library building rises from the butte, echoing the surrounding landforms. Visitors are invited on a journey through a preserved landscape of diverse habitats, punctuated with small pavilions providing spaces for reflection and activity. We still have much to learn about President Roosevelt, and we’re looking forward to working with the Medora community and the broader project team to translate this knowledge into an immersive place to learn about T.R.’s life and legacy.”
The Board of Directors of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation unanimously approved Snøhetta as the Design Architect on September 16, 2020.
North Dakota-based firm J.E. Dunn will serve as Construction Manager on the project. With the selection of Snøhetta as Design Architect and J.E. Dunn as Construction Manager, the project team at the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation will now select a local architect, based in North Dakota, to work on the ground during construction.
Snøhetta is an internationally renowned architecture and landscape firm with more than 240 employees from 32 nations. Founded in Norway with offices in New York City, Innsbruck, Paris, Hong Kong, and Adelaide, Snøhetta received its first commission in 1989 to re-conceive the Alexandria Library after winning an international design competition. A decade later, Snøhetta won another competition commission to design the Norwegian National Ballet and Opera. In 2004, Snøhetta was commissioned to build the 9/11 Museum, the only cultural building on the World Trade Center Memorial site. Other notable Snøhetta projects include the SFMOMA Expansion in San Francisco, ‘Under’ – Europe’s first underwater restaurant, the Ford Dearborn Master Plan, the reimagining of Times Square in New York City, and Calgary’s new Central Library. In 2014, Snøhetta was commissioned by the Central Bank of Norway to redesign their native country’s currency.
“Snøhetta has created cultural institutions known less by the name of the studio that designed them and more for people’s experience living over, under, and through them,” said Cathilea Robinett, chair of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. “The experience of the Badlands changed Theodore Roosevelt, and we are inspired by the idea that this special place, and this special architect can do the same for so many more.” In winning this competition, Snøhetta is the first architectural firm with global roots outside of the United States to design a presidential library. This is of particular poignance since Theodore Roosevelt was the first president to travel outside the United States while in office, and nearly half the population of North Dakota claims Scandinavian roots.
Snøhetta has received almost every architectural award and accolade including, but not limited to, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture for the Bibliotheca in Alexandria, Egypt; the Mies van der Rohe Award for the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet in Oslo; and the AIA Medal for the World Trade Center project.
Further inquires should be directed to Colleen Wolfe, project manager at The Working Group, in association with the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation. email@example.com
We’ve done a lot of big projects in Medora over the years, and we’re grateful to have had one really consistent partner in those projects—Great River Energy. Great River is a Minnesota-based nonprofit electric generating cooperative serving 700,000 families, farms and businesses in Minnesota. They generate much of their electricity at power plants in North Dakota, and have become one of North Dakota’s best “citizens.”
Their most recent commitment to TRMF has a $1 Million dollar impact to help support more activities for kids and families here in Medora. But this is just the latest in a long history of support for North Dakota’s favorite playground.
A young boy and girl are restless in the car all the way from Jamestown to Medora during the families annual summer vacation. When Dad parks, it’s 3 in the afternoon. “What are we going to do ’till the Fondue and Musical?”, he says.
Giving Hearts Day is a 24-hour fundraising event for charities in North Dakota and northwest Minnesota. Since the first event in 2008, generous donors have given more than $70 million, 100% of which goes directly to participating charities. Giving Hearts Day 2020 is Thursday, February 13.
As TRMF President Randy Hatzenbuher moves into his new fundraising responsibilities for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, Mike Beaudoin and our Executive Team will oversee all areas of our Foundation’s day-to-day operations. Mike’s joined on that team by these dedicated TRMF employees.
Every summer since 2012, Joe Wiegand has performed as Theodore Roosevelt at Medora’s Old Town Hall Theater. Starting this fall, Joe joins the staff of the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation as an Assistant to the President, Randy Hatzenbuhler.
Joe’s primary responsibilities will be fundraising for the TRMF. Joe will be headquartered in Medora, traveling throughout the Upper Midwest and venturing as far as Southern California, Arizona, and Florida in the winter, with the goal of growing philanthropic support for TRMF.
Are you looking for a unique Christmas gift for that special child, grandchild, niece or nephew? Enlist them as Junior Rough Riders with the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation!
Junior Rough Riders receive a membership packet with a custom bandana to wear on their next Medora trip, an official membership certificate for framing, and a Teddy Roosevelt-themed bookmarker. Membership dues are $50. Junior Rough Riders are the future of Medora. They can go on to become summer employees, scholarship winners, join the ranks of the Rough Riders, and even become part of our army of summer volunteers, years down the road!
Meet Annual Personal Members, Char and Duey Marthaller
With over 1,200 Annual Personal and Business Members, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is a large family. So large that many of you may have never met another Annual Member.
As a “family that values family”, we can’t let this stand! Which is why we invite you to sit down and get to know Char and Duey Marthaller of Mandan, ND.
Besides being Annual Members since 2012, Char and Duey have shared their wood working talents on a number of Medora projects. Most recently they refurbished the Sheila Schafer Wishing Well in 2017 (pictured above).
Their passion for Medora inspires our staff of over 350 each and every summer. Get to know this wonderful couple below.
Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.
Joslyn Reichert, an Inspiring Woman
Life sometimes has a funny way of putting the right opportunity in front of you at just the right time.
Dickinson native Joslyn Reichert had built a career in the food and beverage industry, attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, holding various chef positions on the west coast, and then transitioning to food and beverage management roles at mountain resorts in Wyoming and Montana.