DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Medora On My Mind

I took the above picture in 2006 of Sentinel Butte, N.D. Its population today is 61 compared to 229 in the early 1950s, when our family lived there for several months.

The town is a few miles west of Medora, which in those days was not yet much of a tourist attraction. Neither was Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which had been authorized in 1947 by President Truman.

Dad had moved the family to Sentinel Butte to partner in a water well drilling business, but it didn’t work out. I threw a major fit in the spring when told we were returning to our Wellsburg, N.D., farm.

Later in the mid-1960s I was employed for a time by the State Highway Department’s tourism bureau, with my duties including promotion of western North Dakota.

The late Bismarck entrepreneur (and multimillionaire) Harold Schafer was busy putting Medora on the vacation destination map. His foundation has kept it there ever since.

The Badlands still resonate with me. It’s 500-plus miles and an eight-hour drive each way from Bloomington, Minn., but it may be time to schedule a return visit.

2 thoughts on “DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Medora On My Mind”

  • Bev Benda April 24, 2017 at 1:17 pm

    Nice article! Medora has always been a top vacation destination for our family.

    Since you encouraged people to visit, may I give a brief promotion for the “Spur Your Inner Artist with Drawing and Watercolor” workshop in Medora, June 5-8? Creative vacations are a great way to visit, learn and enhance your travel experience. The workshop includes discounted lodging, the Medora Musical and more! My twin sister is the professional artist/veteran teacher for this event. For more info, please visit her blog, http://barbarabendanagle.com/?p=1245

    What better place to unleash your creativity than in beautiful Medora and Theodore Roosevelt State Park?

  • Old Gym Rat April 24, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I’m truly enjoying you Dave.


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