“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Medora in Billings County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

On Track to Adventure

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

On Track to Adventure Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Connor Olson, August 3, 2020
1. On Track to Adventure Marker
Inscription.  One hunting trip in the badlands and Theodore Roosevelt was hooked-he invested in the flourishing cattle industry and returned to Dakota Territory often over the next few years.

Roosevelt thoroughly enjoyed "the glory of work and joy of living" on the ranch. He later claimed he would not have been president if not for his experiences in North Dakota.

Photo captions:
Roosevelt witnessed the demise of open-range grazing and took part in the over-hunting of wild game. Reflecting on these experiences awoke his passion for protecting natural resources and wild places.

Upper right:
A Dude from the East
In September of 1883, at just 23 years old, Roosevelt set off from his home in New York City searching for adventure in the West. His hunting trip spanned ten days of terrible weather and awful luck, but his spirits could not be dampened. Exuberant after bagging a trophy bison bull, he decided to buy a ranch.

Little Missouri
Roosevelt arrived at the train station (on the left) around 2:00 am and spent his first night

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in the badlands at the Pyramid Park Hotel (right).

Middle right:
Maltese Cross Cabin Roosevelt's original ranch cabin was located 7 miles south of Medora. It now sits behind the park's South Unit Visitor Center.

A New Adventure
Roosevelt purchased the Maltese Cross Ranch which included a few hundred cattle and a scattering of small sheds. before leaving for New York City, he instructed his hired ranch hands to build a cabin for his return the following summer. While home, his wife and mother both passed away on the same terrible day—February 14, 1884.<

Lower right:
A Ranching Retreat
Upon returning to Dakota Territory in June of 1884, Roosevelt found solace through adventure and the hearty life on the ranch. He expanded his ranching operation to a remote location along the Little Missouri River, about 30 miles north of Medora. he often referred to this second ranch, the Elkhorn, as his home ranch.

The Elkhorn Ranch
Though the cabin no longer stands, the Elkhorn Ranch is the most historically significant of the park's three units.

Erected by National Park Service, Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Agriculture

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Settlements & Settlers. A significant historical month for this entry is September 1883.
Location. 46° 55.159′ N, 103° 31.572′ W. Marker is near Medora, North Dakota, in Billings County. Marker is on East River Road, half a mile north of Pacific Avenue, on the left when traveling north. Located at the Medora Overlook, Theodore Roosevelt National Park-South Unit. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Medora ND 58645, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Medora—Boom and Bust (a few steps from this marker); In honor of a President . . . and His Conservation Legacy (approx. 0.2 miles away); Stephen Tyng Mather (approx. 0.2 miles away); Dreams of a Cattle Empire (approx. ¼ mile away); Loading Dock (approx. ¼ mile away); De Mores Packing Plant (approx. ¼ mile away); Joe Ferris General Store (approx. 0.3 miles away); Great Western Trail (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Medora.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 13, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 12, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 82 times since then and 6 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on August 12, 2020, by Connor Olson of Kewaskum, Wisconsin. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings. • Can you help?

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Mar. 27, 2023