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90 acres of land acquired for Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library in Medora

The site, formerly U.S. Forest Service land, will continue to be open to cattle grazing.

Theodore Roosevelt library sketch.jfif
Oslo-based architecture firm Snøhetta sees the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library as a simple complement to the rugged North Dakota Badlands. The library will be built in Medora near the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and is slated to open in 2026.
Sketch courtesy of Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation
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MEDORA — The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library took a stride forward with the completion of its acquisition of 90 acres of U.S. Forest Service land.

The land acquisition, announced on Monday, June 27, is the culmination of 18 months of study and discussions.

The 90.3-acre site, just west of the Medora Musical’s Burning Hills Amphitheater on Medora’s southwest edge, emerged as the top choice of more than a dozen potential locations for the presidential library.

President Donald Trump signed legislation enabling the sale of the land in December 2020, and the sale process started in January 2021.

“North Dakotans have ensured a legacy not just for their state but also for our nation,” Theodore Roosevelt V said in a statement. He is the great-great-grandson and namesake of the 26th president.

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“I am pleased that the Roosevelt family was able to purchase the land for the T.R. Library, honoring the life and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, and helping advance the ambitious vision of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library,” he added.

To honor the ranching tradition that Roosevelt himself was a part of, federal officials placed several conditions on the sale, including preservation of grazing rights. A significant part of the library site will remain open to cattle grazing.

“One hundred-thirty-nine years after Theodore Roosevelt first came to Medora the Roosevelts are back in North Dakota,” said Edward O’Keefe, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation.

Theodore Roosevelt started ranching near Medora in 1884 during the open range era and spent the better part of the ensuing two years in the area, hunting and ranching. He continued to regularly visit the Medora area until his death in 1919.

Construction of the library is set to begin next year and a grand opening is planned for July 4, 2026, coinciding with the 250th anniversary of the United States and the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Medora serves as the gateway to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which includes the site of Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch in three units in the Badlands along the Little Missouri River.

Those interested in donating can do so online at trlibrary.com/donate.

Patrick Springer first joined The Forum in 1985. He covers a wide range of subjects including health care, energy and population trends. Email address: pspringer@forumcomm.com
Phone: 701-367-5294
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