Medora, North Dakota.
For this week’s “Inspiration” challenge by Tina Schell, I am putting a bit of a historical twist in play. You can read Tina’s post here.
Regular readers of this humble blog know of my love for North Dakota. It was the home of my birth, and though I spent my formative years in other states, in the late 1970’s I was drawn back to the state by the opportunity of a new career. Finding a lifelong home in Fargo, I retired from that career in support of education.
“I have always said I would not have been President had it not been for my experience in North Dakota.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
It would be easy to say the state inspired me, but it’s not the same as the inspiration that North Dakota brought to our 26th president. Known by his nickname Teddy, Roosevelt served as our nation’s leader from 1901 to 1909. In 1883, the conservationist president came to North Dakota to hunt buffalo. No doubt inspired by the beautiful landscapes of the North Dakota badlands, the large expanse of prairie grasses, and the potential for raising and selling livestock in the booming cattle business, he was drawn to cattle ranching.
Roosevelt built a cattle ranch and lived in a cabin a few miles south of what is now the town of Medora when the easterner from New York spent his time in the state. In the winter of 1884, he was back in New York. On February 14, 1884, his wife and mother died within hours of each other. Devastated, he went back to North Dakota to grieve. Giving up politics for a time, he engrossed himself in cattle ranching and worked as a sheriff. He returned to New York and politics by 1886.
Others have been inspired by the 26th president’s visits to North Dakota. Sculptor in iron and steel, Gary Greff built an attraction along a North Dakota road. The Enchanted Highway is east of Dickinson and runs from Gladstone to Regent, North Dakota. The sculptures stationed along the way feature familiar themes to North Dakotans. One of the exhibits features a representation of Teddy Roosevelt on horseback.
“There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy, and its charm.”
— Theodore Roosevelt
In 1947, President Truman was inspired to honor a presidency marked by visionary leadership in conservation policy by creating Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the only park in the national park system to be named after a person.
Most of the photos for this challenge submission were captured within the last couple of weeks as my wife and I traveled across the southern portion of the state on our way to visit national parks in Montana, Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming.
Thanks to Tina for allowing me an excuse to share some of my most recent photos of my favorite state.