Teddy Roosevelt in Colorado and the San Juan’s
On the same fateful day, Teddy Roosevelt lost his mother and young wife to different illnesses. Devastated, he traveled to North Dakota to shake his grief hunting bison and bears. Roosevelt arrived in the Dakota Territory in 1883. Finding a bison proved difficult but Roosevelt acquired an interest in raising cattle in the badlands. Cattle ranching in Dakota was a booming business in the 1880s. Roosevelt got into the cattle business with local partners. Part of his investment was inspired by the opportunity to enjoy a western lifestyle. The West changed the new cattle-rancher forever. Governor of New York and the Republican vice-presidential candidate, he toured Colorado in September 1900 campaigning for presidential candidate William McKinley. As vice president-elect, he went to the Western Slope for a cougar hunt. In 1901, an assassin shot McKinley, and at 42, “that damned cowboy” became the youngest president in American history.
He and his hunting companions spent full days in the saddle. At first they didn’t succeed in the bear hunt but Roosevelt finally caught his first bear, a big one weighing over 300 pounds. During the bear hunt lots of other wildlife caught his attention. Getting ill (Cuban fever), however, he had to cut his trip short. At the same time, a blizzard hit and the group had to descend to Glenwood Springs. Roosevelt and his entourage stayed at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs. From the hotel Roosevelt resumed his presidential duties, including as a negotiator and peacemaker for an ongoing Russo-Japanese war (which earned Roosevelt a Nobel Peace Prize the next year).