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.

4 thoughts on “Remembering Teddy Roosevelt and the Badlands of North Dakota”

    1. I know and I agree; Teddy Roosevelt was an interesting and complicated man. I found it intriguing that he was more of a conservationist than a preservationist. He saw a need to “manage” resources for sustainability rather than denying access to them for preservation purposes. Thank you for your comment, Karen!


    1. Thank you, Tony, we always appreciate your comments! Ken burns, along with Dayton Duncan in 2009, produced a PBS documentary entitled “The National Parks”. The accompanying book was published as “The National Parks, America’s Best Idea”. That is a tome just bursting with great info about ALL our national parks! Thank you for your kind words, Tony!!!


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