This is a continuation of a travel series to The Great West. To start at the beginning, go HERE,, HERE, and
This week's travel post will be the final post of my travel series to the Great West. For my final post I am covering the Chateau de Mores and the history of the sweet town of Medora.
On our last day in Medora we had a more civilized day. After an early morning hike in Theodore Roosevelt National Park we went back into town to freshen up, grab some lunch, and explore the sweet little town of Medora. We visited all the sites that were still open late in the season and some of the gift shops, and there was still some time left in our day so I suggested to my husband that we check out the other historic home open for tours in town. Little did I know that we should have done the Chateau de Mores experience first, because it was far more than just a home tour. For the price of admission there is a museum explaining the history of the area and the Marquis family including a short film. By the time we arrived, we only had time to run through the museum quickly to catch the highlights and then tour the house. We never had time to see the movie.
The chateau is a hunting lodge and summer home for the Marquis de Mores family and guests. It was built in 1883 and is a 26 room, two story frame building.
Today the home is now part of the 128 acre Chateau de Mores State Historic Site which also includes Chimney Park and de Mores Memorial Park.
The house contains many of the original furnishings and personal effects of the de Mores family.
The Marquis de Mores was a man of immense wealth so it was a surprise to me how simple the chateau was in both design and furnishings. After I spoke to one of the tour guides she reminded me that this was the Marquis "cabin" where he came for a rustic getaway to hunt. When I think of "cabins" most American's have today, I guess this "chateau" was pretty large and luxurious in comparison, especially for the time period.
When the Marquis arrived in the area and built the chateau he named the town "Medora" after his wife. Isn't that the romantic act ever? Can you imagine your husband naming a town after you?
The Marquis was a French aristocrat and entrepreneur. He arrived in the area to establish a new kind of cattle operation. He planned to slaughter and cold pack his cattle to ship it out east in refrigerated cars. He built a slaughter house in town which could be seen from the chateau. It burnt to the ground in 1907 but the chimney still remains to this day, and is now known as Chimney Park.
For three years, the town of Medora did very well. His family occupied the chateau seasonally from 1883 to 1886. During the winter months they would go back to their home in France.
In 1886 the slaughter house collapsed due to a drought, competition from other meat packers, and the Marquis lack of business experience. The Marquis family returned to France when the slaughter house closed. The Marquis visited the chateau twice more once in 1887 and again in 1889, but Medora and the children only returned after the Marquis death in 1903 and spent six weeks here.
Although there are tour guides in the building to answer any of your questions, it is a self guided tour with plenty of signs to read explaining what room you are viewing, and notes on personal effects within the room.
The bedrooms on the second floor were all very simple and were used for the children, their nurses, and guests.
The front of the house was an enclosed porch. This space was used for guests to drop off their large trunks and hunting equipment.
The chateau did not have indoor plumbing as you could probably have guessed by all the pitchers and wash basins in the bedrooms above. The Marquis however did have a make-shift indoor toilet (or shall I say an indoor outhouse if that makes sense). You can read more about how it operated in the second picture below this one.
Like most wealthy couples of that time period the Marquis and his wife had separate bedrooms. They were both located on the lower level of the house. This is the Marquis' bedroom.
And this was Medora's bedroom.
This is Medora's study. The fireplace in the corner is very unique for it is the same fireplace in four different rooms of the house. Each room has the fireplace in the same corner and occupies one chimney.
On the other side, is a living space, and you can see the fireplace in the corner.
The home has a beautiful wrap around porch with gorgeous views of the buttes and the town of Medora below.
And finally, see the chimney in the low-mid section of the photo below? That is what remains of the slaughter house after the fire in 1907. The Marquis could see his plant from his office window in the chateau.
The Chateau de Mores is open for tours May through October 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.
Admission is $10.00 per person, $3.00 for children ages 6-15, and Free for kids under 6.
Have A Great Day! Amy
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