Remembering Teddy Roosevelt and the Badlands of North Dakota

Walking Into a Bookstore

Sunday, July 14, 2019

 

Some people like to relax with a picnic in the park; some, a run on the beach; others, a hike in the woods.  And then there are those of us who like to browse a bookstore!  No matter where in the world we rove, a bookstore will beckon and attract our attention.  Last weekend was no exception; and while rummaging through the sale bin at the back of the shop, we scored a treasure!  There, at the bottom of the bin, was a first edition of The Roosevelts, An Intimate History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns.  This was published, in conjunction with the airing of a PBS documentary in September 2014, by Alfred A. Knopf.  This discovery, with its chapters about Teddy Roosevelt in the Badlands, brought back memories of our visit to North Dakota in 2015.  That was when we found and explored the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Here are some photos:

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“The Roosevelts, An Intimate History” was published September 2014 in conjunction with the PBS documentary of the same title. It reminded us of our 2015 trip to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
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Theodore Roosevelt was attracted to the rugged expanse of the awesome North Dakota Badlands. He arrived in 1883 in search of adventure; what he encountered were life-changing experiences that shaped his destiny.
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Co-incidentally, the Marquis de Mores also came to North Dakota that year with the desire to establish a cattle business. He began by establishing a town–Medora, ND, where Roosevelt arrived on September 7, 1883.
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Neither de Mores nor Roosevelt were full time residents of the area. However, they both made substantial investments in cattle, real estate, and businesses.
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Chateau de Mores, a 25 room ranch house, is still furnished with the items brought to America by the family. Visitors are welcome!!!
This is all that is lef of the de Mores operation.
This is all that is left of the de Mores operation.

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But the town survived and is now the home of Theodore Roosevelt National Park!!!
Medora is not a large town....
Medora is not a large town….
.....but it is charming.....
…..but it is charming…..
.....there are several restaurants.....
…..there are several restaurants…..
.....a quaint residential district.....
…..a quaint residential district…..
.....and, of course, the National Park!
…..and, of course, the National Park!
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Roosevelt’s first home in North Dakota was the Maltese Cross Ranch House which he purchased in 1883.
Today, it is open for viewing.
Today, it is open for viewing.
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Clay S. Jenkinson’s book,(Theodore Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands, 2006, Dickinson State University), was chock-full of history and Roosevelt biography. Purchased in the gift shop of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

We enjoyed our time in North Dakota immensely!!!  The people who live there know it is something special—rugged, beautiful, quiet, and yet challenging, invigorating and exacting.  Teddy Roosevelt arrived in Medora a frail, sickly, falsetto-voiced youth.  He took his lumps; endured hardship; and emerged a few years later a robust, energetic man driven to achieve.  He became the 26th president of the United States.  He established the National Park Service.  He was the first president of the Boone and Crockett Club (initiator and champion of all the principle federal land management agencies:  US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.)

Our memories remind us:  it is time to go back to North Dakota!!!  Someday, we will.

Cocoa Village, Florida

Saturday, June 15, 2019

 

Fishermen were settling along the Indian River very early in Florida’s history; but the first families didn’t arrive in this area until 1860.  The first commercial building, establishing the downtown area, was erected in 1881.  And the city was incorporated in 1895.  Citrus was the economic engine of the area.

However, Cocoa Village came into its own in the 1960s when the space industry developed.  Tourism became a booming business as thousands came to witness the launches from Cape Canaveral.

Last weekend, we toured Cocoa Village to witness its history and Southern charm!!!

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Cocoa Village sits along the Indian River. Today, that river is part of the Intracoastal Waterway system.
There are many charming homes along this waterway also.
There are many charming homes along this waterway also.
Not to mention the cute and compact houses in town.
Not to mention the cute and compact houses in town.
Some of the late 1800s homes are quite large.
Some of the late 1800s homes are quite large.
Some are large enough to be bed & breakfasts!
Some are large enough to be bed & breakfasts!
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This is the grandest house in Cocoa, built in 1916 for Edward Porcher, a citrus grower and inventor. There was a large packinghouse on the riverbank behind the house to process the citrus boated over from their groves on Merritt Island.
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In 1945, the city of Cocoa purchased the Porcher House and used it as City Hall. The packinghouse came down and this park was built along the river. Today, Porcher House is rented out for special events.
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These early commercial buildings are like an early representation of a strip mall!
They are still in use.
They are still in use.
Much more attractive than the strip malls we usually see today!!!
Much more attractive than the strip malls we usually see today!!!
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The historic Derby Street Chapel was built in 1924 for the Seventh Day Adventists. In 1955 it was bought by the Church of Christ. By 1964, it was the First Baptist Church.  Finally, in 2005, it was saved from demolition by the city and is now a community center.
This is the new First Baptisit Church.
This is the new First Baptist Church.
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At this point, we decided it was time for lunch! We chose Murdock’s, founded in 2001 by three school teachers. They purchased what had once been the 1940s Murdock’s Grocery Store.
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When constructed in the early 1940s, Murdock’s was built using salvaged doors and windows from the old, demolished Brevard Hotel (now replaced by the Oleander Point Condos and Marina.
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Once known as the grocery for Quality Foods, Murdock’s is now home to Quality Meals.
We began with Fried Pickles accompanied with Horseradish and Ranch Dressing.
We began with Fried Pickles accompanied with Horseradish and Ranch Dressing.
Rog ordered a Warteiner German Pilsner.
Rog ordered a Warsteiner German Pilsner.
Sandy ordered a Benzinger Sauvignon Blanc to go with her Patty Melt Sandwich.
Sandy ordered a Benzinger Sauvignon Blanc to go with her Patty Melt Sandwich.
Rog had the Shrimp Po'boy Sandwich.
Rog had the Shrimp Po’boy Sandwich.
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As we returned to sightseeing, we made it a point to look at the Oleander Point Condos now enjoying the riverfront location of the old Brevard Hotel.
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We drove over to the S. F. Travis Hardware Store, founded in 1895 by a Civil War veteran. Colonel Travis would sail up and down the Indian River delivering supplies to his customers as far to the north as Jacksonville and to Ft. Pierce in the south.
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Today, the store is run by his great-grandson, Travis Osborne. This is a must -see establishment for every man on the planet!!! It’s like a museum of tools, hardware and fixtures. It may be an old-fashioned store, but it supplies the likes of NASA, too!
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The downtown area is quite charming. Quaint buildings, interesting shops and enticing eateries abound!!!
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There are cool consignment shops, galleries, jewelry artisans, and even a Barkery for man’s best friend!
Obviously, many of the old buildings have been repurposed to great advantage.
Obviously, many of the old buildings have been re-purposed to great advantage.
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Ossorio’s Cafe is located next door to Cocoa’s version of a mall–it’s really more like an arcade!
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Across the street is the Myrt Tharpe Square where a farmers’ market is held every week.
There are charming boutiques.
There are charming boutiques.
You can find lots of beachwear.
You can find lots of beachwear.
Fine Jewelry
Fine Jewelry
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And there is even a beautiful theater that is still in use!!! This is the Cocoa Village Playhouse, housed in the old Aladdin Theater. Today, they produce an entire season of live concerts, plays, and musicals.
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Next door to the theater, we discovered the Belair Courtyard. Built in 1926 around an open-air patio, it was designed to be a modern two-story office and retail complex. It still is, with the addition of a quality restaurant.
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We were nearing the end of the day.  We walked along the river for a final look and gazed  across to Merritt Island.
We gazed at the river as  the sun slowly set.
We strolled as the sun slowly set.
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And we admired the bridge from Cocoa to Merritt Island. One of my uncles, as a young civil engineer in the 1950s, was involved in its construction!!!
Heading back to the Belair Courtyard, we stopped for dinner at Cafe Margaux.
Heading back to the Belair Courtyard, we stopped for dinner at Cafe Margaux.
Our sever, Jimmy, at The Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village took good care of us.
Our sever, Jimmy, at The Cafe Margaux in Cocoa Village took good care of us.
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Jimmy has been awarded a golden Hockey Stick by the owner of Cafe Margaux. It indicates Jimmy’s talent for fast and reliable service as well as an agility for response to any and all situations.
And so, he quickly delivered a Canyon Road Moscato, California, 2017.
And so, he quickly delivered a Canyon Road Moscato, California, 2017.
And a Melange of Fresh Seafood:  a trio of seafood with unique sauces.
And a Melange of Fresh Seafood: a trio of seafood with unique sauces.
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Ribeye Au Poivre Vert, an 18 ounce Prime, Boneless, Ribeye with brandied Green Peppercorn Sauce, Greek Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus.
For dessert:  Creme Brulee.....
For dessert: Creme Brulee…..
.....and Pistacchio cake.
…..and Pistachio cake.
As we were leaving, I took a quick photo of the extensive bar.
As we were leaving, I took a quick photo of the extensive bar.
And a peek at the fine wines.
And a peek at the fine wines.
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This mural, spotted on the side of a local bank,sums up the spirit of our visit to Cocoa Village: happy, tropical, and historically interesting.

 

We have not yet planned the next excursion.  Let’s just see where curiosity and interest take us next!!!