A fire on this date in 1887 in Medora, North Dakota served as the final straw for many of the town’s residents. The stretch of bad luck began with the “Winter of the Blue Snow” – the brutal winter of 1886, one of the state’s worst on record. Blizzard after blizzard buried the western badlands, and by December “…travel had become practically impossible.” It was estimated that “…85% of the vast [cattle] herds roaming the badlands … had been wiped out of existence.”
When the January fire destroyed a portion of the city’s business district, many of the area’s residents, including the future President, Theodore Roosevelt, decided enough was enough, returning to the East with the spring thaw.
Dakota Datebook written by Jayme L. Job
“The Winter of the Blue Snow”, The Rough Rider Review (TRMF). Mid-Winter 2011: p. 13 (accessed via: http://www.medora.org/data/upfiles/431688_Winter2011_News_8.pdf).