The Chateau de Mores was built in 1883 as a hunting lodge for the Marquis’ family and his guests. It was very rustic compared to what the family was accustomed in Europe and in New York. But it was much larger and more elegant than anything else in the area. Most people who had settled in Dakota Territory at that time lived in log or sod houses, often with only one or two rooms. In cities such as Bismarck, there were some very nice homes; but not out in the Badlands.
The family lived there from spring until late fall, then would travel back to New York or to Europe for the cold winter months. This was only for three years: 1884, 1885, and 1886. In early 1887 the packing plant was closed and they never returned as a family, although the Marquis made two trips back to the area in 1887 and 1889. Medora returned to the Chateau only once, in 1903, after the Marquis’ death. She brought her older two children and stayed about six weeks. After that the house was maintained by the caretakers, who readied it every summer, but she never returned.
After her death in 1921, the caretakers asked permission to use the house as a summer boarding house and were given permission by the eldest son, Louis, who was the owner by that time. They operated the boarding house for approximately fifteen years. Very little maintenance was done and many items were either sold, stolen or broken. In 1936 Louis deeded the house and 125 acres of land to the state of North Dakota with the understanding that it be repaired and opened to the public. The first restoration was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1937 - 1941. The house was opened to the public on August 7, 1941. In 1995 the Chateau was again restored with replicas of the wallpaper and carpets as well as period replacements for key pieces of furniture.Things to think about:
How do you think people felt when they saw the Chateau being built?
In 1883, it cost $5,000 to build the Chateau. Where did the Marquis get the money to build it?
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