After his marriage to Medora, the Marquis went to work in von Hoffman’s bank where he studied American finance. It was during this time that he studied the cattle industry and became convinced that it would make him “the greatest financier in the world.” He planned to ship dressed range-fed beef cattle to the eastern markets in refrigerator cars, thereby reducing the consumer costs. The packing plant's construction started in June 1883 and slaughter began in October. The plant was expanded in 1884, the smokestack finished in 1885. Said to have cost $250,000, the plant could handle up to 150 beeves per day. The plant closed in November 1886 due to fierce competition from Chicago packers, opposition from the beef trust and the public preference for grain-fed beef.
The Marquis established many other businesses besides the packing plant. He ranched, experimenting with feeding cattle and branched into sheep and horse raising. He owned a system of ice houses along the railroad to keep the refrigerated cars cold and used that system to ship salmon from the west to the east coast. He also opened retail markets in the eastern cities for his products. He owned real estate in Bismarck, tried irrigated farming along the Little Missouri River and started a stagecoach line from Medora to Deadwood.Things to think about:
What would Medora be like today if even one of the Marquis’ ideas had worked then?
Can you think of any businesses in the area today that are similar to the Marquis’ ideas?
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