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Chateau De Mores Lesson 1 - Lesson Introduction

Chateau de Mores State Historic Site The Chateau de Mores State Historic Site interprets the life of the Marquis de Mores. A French aristocrat with an entrepreneurial spirit common during this era, the Marquis came to Dakota Territory in 1883 to find fortune in the cattle industry. He planned to slaughter range cattle at Medora, ship dressed meat east in refrigerated rail cars, and provide urban consumers with a better quality meat product.

The Marquis invested heavily in his dream. He built a meat-packing plant, bought cattle and land, and employed cowboys and workers. For three years Medora hummed with activity; the de Mores family built houses, businesses, and a Catholic church. The Marquis’s many enterprises included cattle ranches, sheep ranches, and the Medora-Deadwood Stagecoach line.

When the Marquis’s meat-packing scheme collapsed in 1886, his commercial empire did as well. His dreams, however, created a romantic legacy that lives on in western North Dakota.

About This Lesson

The 128-acre Chateau de Mores State Historic Site is comprised of three separate parts: The Chateau de Mores (1/8 mile west and 1/8 miles south of Medora), Chimney Park (west edge of Medora), and de Mores Memorial Park (downtown Medora).

It is important for students to recognize the value of local history and the part it played in the development of North Dakota. The resources of the state historic sites are a valuable asset to the school and community and as such should be explored more fully.

This lesson was written to enable school students to understand some of the background about the beginnings of Medora and the de Mores family before a visit to the site. The lesson was written by Barbara Carlson, seasonal interpreter/guide at the Chateau de Mores. Assistance from Mrs. Tammy Nistler and her 4th grade classes at Lincoln Elementary School in Beach, ND is gratefully acknowledged.

The introduction, background and family biography readings were compiled from official site brochures and Marquis de Mores, Dakota Capitalist French Nationalist, D. Jerome Tweton, 1972.

Where it fits into the curriculum

This lesson fits into the North Dakota Studies curriculum on ND settlement. It meets the ND Social Studies Standards and Benchmarks:


  • Enlighten school students on the significance and importance of North Dakota history.
  • Promote an understanding of the state’s past.
  • Make detailed observations of the rooms of the Chateau based on analysis of photos.
  • Write a descriptive essay of one of the rooms.
Materials used in the lesson

Introduction and Background
Family Biographies
Business Ventures
The Chateau de Mores
An Observation Exercise with Practice and Worksheet
Medora Vocabulary List


Images of the Chateau rooms
Medora 1885
Marquis with top hat and cane
Marquis on horse
Medora de Vallombrosa
Madame de Mores with a guest, the children and servants
Medora and children 1886
Medora and children 1901
Packing plant
Current photo of Chateau

Visiting the site

Open May 16 through September 15. Student tours are available by appointment pre-season and post-season. Contact Dee Linn, site supervisor at 701-623-4355 Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. MDT with the last tickets sold at 5:50 p.m. Allow one hour per visit. It is suggested that visitors enter the Chateau no later than 5:30 p.m. so as not to be rushed. Admission: Adults $6, children 6-15 $3, under 6 free. Tour Bus $40, School Bus Tours $1.00 per student, adults accompanying children get free admission. Prices subject to change.

Teaching Activities

Getting Started

packing plant in Medora

Inquiry Questions

For what was this building used?
Who used it?
Can you tell where it is?
When was it taken?

The questions will be answered as the students complete the lesson. No other information should be given at this time since they will be seeing the image later in the lesson.

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Bismarck, North Dakota 58505
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