Some 30,000 citizens of every age jammed their way into Fargo’s Island Park to welcome and celebrate “The Medora President” this week in September of 1910.
Theodore Roosevelt did not disappoint. Among those in the crowd were children, with their stuffed toy “Teddy” bears in tow.
The freshly former president spoke as he lay the cornerstone for the Andrew Carnegie Library at Fargo College, the city’s first college, now long gone, that stood above Island Park.
The Fargo Forum proclaimed Roosevelt “The world’s foremost citizen.”
"My friends, 30 years ago I first came to Fargo, and I assure you, it was quite a different place then. It was 27 years ago that I put my first cattle out on the Little Missouri, in this state, which was then the old territory of Dakota. I shall never forget what I learned there. The most important influences on my life were gained in those years when I worked and lived among the ranchers and cowboys of western Dakota and eastern Montana. To that life I owe my knowledge and sympathy for the western people. So you see, the people of North Dakota are peculiarly responsible for me.
I’m glad you don’t seem sad over it. Had it not been for the years spent in North Dakota and what I learned there, I would not have been president of the United States. So naturally I entertain the liveliest and keenest feeling toward North Dakota. I feel that I am among my own people and in my own land.
For your own sins, I will speak again twice tomorrow, and will spare you any more tonight."
Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt is written and performed by Steve Stark. Funding provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.