© 2024
Prairie Public NewsRoom
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Medora Ball


The town of Medora was founded in 1883 and named by the Marquis de Morse for his beloved wife. They brought with them the airs of the European aristocracy. When the Chateau, with its 26 rooms, was completed, it was the source of many social occasions for the family and wealthy visitors.

But the life of the family in the Chateau was short-lived as the dream of the Marquis to establish a beef packing plant and a processing plant for packaging military rations fell apart due to drought and severe winters. In 1886 he left Medora and the home was left in the hands of caretakers should the family ever return to live there again. But that was not to be. The Marquis de Mores was killed in Algiers in June of 1896.

In 1906, when Medora returned to visit her former home in the Bad Lands, having been gone for many years, she organized a ball to honor old friends and neighbors and thus began a yearly ritual which has been recently revitalized.

So it was on this date in 1928 that the dance hall in the town of Medora was filled with ladies and gentlemen gathering to continue this tradition in remembrance of the glory days of Marquise de Mores and her family. A handsome stranger sauntered into the hall. He watched the dancers for a moment and then turning to a nearby maiden, he asked, "Mademoiselle may I have this dance?" Not knowing who this person was, she scornfully turned away. Undaunted, the man turned to another maiden only to be met once again with rejection. Sensing the futility of the occasion, the man soon left the dance hall.

Talking among themselves, the girls were wondering who that person could have been, when a grizzled old cowhand spoke up. "That was the Duke de Vallombrosa, son the Marquis de Mores," he chuckled. "You girls done know a real gentleman when you see one." Ironically, the Duke had been traveling on a transcontinental train and had stopped off for a brief visit of the estate to which he was heir and had decided to attend the ball in honor of his family.

Louis Manca, Duke de Vallombrosa would return to North Dakota in October of 1936 with much fanfare when he signed over the Chateau and itscontents to the State Historical Society of North Dakota. A large reception was held in his honor and it is hoped that his luck at obtaining a dancing partner was much better than that of the previous decade.


The Westhope Standard October 4, 1926

http://www.nd.gov/hist/HP/sites/chateau/chateau.html State Historical Society web site