Chateau de Mores is a North Dakota State Historic site commemorating Antoine de Vallombrosa, the Marquis de Mores. The Marquis was an entrepreneur in the North Dakota badlands in the 1880s, the same time Theodore Roosevelt was ranching in the area. The badlands business of the Marquis was a meatpacking empire that he theorized would result in better quality and priced meats back east.
In 1883, de Mores founded the town of Medora and named it after his wife (Medora von Hoffman). It was in Medora that he built his meatpacking empire, but this enterprise closed its doors in 1886. The chimney of the meatpacking plant is still standing today and is located in what is now a park where families picnic before heading into the south unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
One of the reasons the Marquis’ meat packing legacy failed was because he was arrested for murdering a man in a duel. He blamed Theodore Roosevelt for his arrest but the future president denied the accusations saying, “Most emphatically I am not your enemy; if I were you would know it, for I would be an open one, and would not have asked you to my house nor gone to yours.” de Mores was acquitted on the charges and eventually sold his assets in North Dakota and returned to France.
While I had never heard of him before reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, The Marquis de More has a lasting legacy in Medora. His story is an interesting one and walking through his 26-room “chateau” was like taking a step back in time. The Chateau de Mores is open for tours in the summer and a statue of the Marquis statue stands in de Mores park. For more information, visit ND.gov.
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