Team Spotlight

Renewal by Andersen of Fargo-Bismark Helps Restore North Dakota Landmark

If you ever travel through North Dakota on I-94, you’ll eventually come to Medora, a tiny town on the state’s western prairie, 25 miles from the Montana border. Situated smack dab in the middle of Teddy Roosevelt National Park, the city is home to roughly 150 people (depending on who you ask).

Teeming With History

As small and out of the way as Medora is, it teems with history. The town found a place on the proverbial map in April 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt stopped there during a campaign tour of the western U.S. Now known for the largest recreation area in the state of North Dakota, as well as for the Medora Musical, a musical revue held each summer, Medora is also home to seven museums, and is one of North Dakota’s most popular tourist destinations. 

Another popular Medora landmark is the Schafer Cabin, named after the late Harold and Sheila Schafer, a local philanthropist couple. Harold, the founder of the Gold Seal Company (known for such products as Mr. Bubble and Glass Wax), is credited as the man who made Medora what it is today. Enthralled with the town, and deeply passionate about the area and its history, Schafer poured his time and money into revitalizing the area, investing heavily in theTheodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and the Medora Musical.

An Opportunity to Give Back

Last winter, the eponymous cabin, which is now owned by Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation, sustained significant damage when pipes froze and burst and water flooded the 51-year-old log structure. 

Enter Renewal by Andersen of Fargo-Bismark. Company leaders heard of the cabin’s significance to the town’s history and decided to get involved. “When we learned about what the cabin means to that area and what it means to the entire state of North Dakota, we knew we had a great opportunity to give back,” said Adam May, Renewal’s communications manager. “Renewal products are helping to maintain the historic integrity of this iconic landmark while improving its comfort and energy efficiency.”

Renewal by Andersen donated 20 double-hung windows to the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation and installers from the Fargo-Bismark location got to work providing all of the installation services, also at no cost.

Preserving A Piece Of History

The cabin is a valuable piece of Medora history, and this wasn’t the first time the community rallied to preserve it. After learning that the foundation lacked the financial resources to repair the structure, an anonymous “friend of Medora” volunteered to handle the restoration (the cabin had sat vacant since Sheila Schafer’s death in 2016). Renovation began last April and was completed in August.

Foundation president Randy Hatzenbuhler and his wife now live in the log cabin.

“It’s a really important place, because it’s where the people who restored the town lived,” Hatzenbuhler told Bismarck Tribune reporter Blair Emerson. The Hatzenbuhlers treat the home as if they were “living in a museum.”

The Schafers’ son Ed, who was North Dakota’s governor from 1992 to 2000, was pleased that the cabin was being restored. It originally was a one-bedroom home for the curator of a Medora museum, later became an art gallery and then the Schafers’ home in the early 1980s after being expanded to two bedrooms and 2½ bathrooms.

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