Week 12 - NORTH DAKOTA 24 AUG 98 - 28 AUG 98
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100 year-old flowers . . .were found in the library of the 26-room mansion, "The Chateau de Mores" in Medora North Dakota. They had been pressed in an encyclopedia by the mistress of the house, the Marquise de Mores (pictured below), a rich socialite from New York who lived here from 1884-1886 .

A redheaded sharp-
shooter from the east...
Medora von Hoffman was the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in New York City. She met and married a French nobleman, the Marquis de Mores (pictured below), in France in 1882.. The newlyweds moved to America where her husband decided he could make millions in the cattle business out west. He founded a town on the shores of the Little Missouri River in the Dakota Badlands, naming it after his lovely bride, Medora. The Marquis was an excellent marksman, second only to his wife, who was reported to be superior. The Dakotas territory at that time was becoming a hot hunting spot for easterners and the couple hosted many grand hunting parties for their curious eastern friends.

High steaks ... "the crazy Frenchman" was what the local frontiersmen called the 26-year old Marquis de Mores when he came to town in 1883 with the wild idea of cutting the high cost of beef by building a meatpacking plant on the range, thus eliminating the expense and loss of quality incurred in transporting cattle to the Chicago meatpacking plants. In less than a year, the Marquis accomplished his goal, while the local jeering quieted to a solemn respect. In addition to his meatpacking plant the town had a brickyard, several stores, a saloon, a hotel, a newspaper, and even a Catholic church. He also acquired 26,000 acres of land and built a 26-room mansion, "The Chateau de Mores" (pictured below), high up on a hill overlooking the new town which now had a population of 251. Unfortunately, extreme weather and ruthless competition wiped him out in 1886. He went on to further adventures in Nepal, Indochina and the Sahara Desert where he was killed by natives in 1896.

The Chateau . . . While the exterior of this house was built in the simple design of local customs, the interior was furnished in the high style typical of wealthy Europeans and urban Americans of the Victorian era. Nevertheless, to the Marquis and Marquise this was "roughing it." At the time the Marquis and his wife lived here, this 26-room house was not referred to at as a mansion (that would have been laughable) nor as a "Chateau," the French term normally used for baronial estates of the French countryside. The term "Chateau" was coined by the locals many years after its inhabitants departed. The mansion still stands today. The new owner, the State Historical Society, allows visitors to tour 25 of the 26 rooms.

Photos taken week of August 24, 1998


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