Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt

6:42 AM, 8:42 AM, 3:50 PM*, 5:44 PM, AND 7:50 PM* CT
  • Hosted by Steve Stark

Our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, was a lauded statesman, orator, and storyteller. He wrote more books than any other president and, indeed, more than most authors and intellectuals. To commemorate him and his North Dakota legacy, Roosevelt scholar and re-enactor Steve Stark has made selections from his speeches, books, and letters for a special Dakota Datebook series. Throughout 2019, listen for Dakota Datebook: Remembering Theodore Roosevelt in the regular Dakota Datebook time slots. 

*Airtimes during Main Street may vary.

Funding for this series is provided by the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation.

Theodore Roosevelt’s first step into Dakota Territory was not to western cowboy country, but to Fargo-Moorhead. His first tangle with wildlife was with birds, not bison.

And when 21-year-old Theodore and his 20-year-old brother Elliott left the Red River Valley after ten days of hunting with new shotguns, the area was minus 208 critters – prairie chickens, ducks, plovers, coots, grebes and more. That was acceptable hunting style in September 1880.

The next month he would marry Alice. And over the next few years, Roosevelt became the youngest man elected to the New York State Assembly, published his first book The Naval War of 1812, and shot his first bison in the Badlands.

Theodore Roosevelt’s initial trip to Western Dakota Territory’s badlands was a rollicking adventure of hunting, frustration, and awe for the young New Yorker in his early twenties. In mere days TR was entranced by the beauty and the desolation of gnarled, stunted cedars, miles of plateaus, running rivers, scoria, sandstone and clay.

Roosevelt in Fargo

Sep 9, 2019

The first week of September in 1910, Teddy Roosevelt addressed over 30,000 citizens at Fargo College, which overlooked Island Park. The former Dakota Territory rancher’s tenure as the nation’s youngest chief executive had ended in March the previous year. Here are some of TR’s remarks after being introduced by the college president.

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.

Election Pledges

Aug 29, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt’s passion for politics included his own insistence on the American public’s quest for truth and honesty. He was known for continually demanding as much for himself, even more so, as a political leader. He abhorred politicians who randomly distributed false promises.

Theodore Roosevelt’s first important speech in North Dakota was before a teaming assembly of citizens in Jamestown in the blazing summer, anxious for their adopted Western son to speak glowingly of Wild West values.

In his first year in office, President Theodore Roosevelt, after the assassination of William McKinley, embarked as “Designer in Chief.” He officially christened the executive mansion The White House, Washington, DC.

Theodore Roosevelt’s adherence to honesty was a golden strength of the 26th president. He held the attribute in his heart, actions, and his speeches. For “Old Four Eyes,” truth was a virtue for a cowpuncher, businessman and most certainly a politician.

President Roosevelt was nominated for re-election this week in 1904. In his autobiography, TR included some amusing stump stories about that campaign.

Cowboy Stories

Jul 25, 2019

Theodore Roosevelt was a natural storyteller. His summers spent with cowboys and cavalry men provided a wealth of opportunities to add to his repertoire.