Correction: The print version of this story incorrectly listed where the Havre Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will be meeting during construction. Their services will be held at the Seventh Day Adventest school at 4115 9th St. West in Havre.
As Eldon Pfile presided over the groundbreaking for the addition to the Havre Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Wednesday night, he couldn't help but think of his father.
Thirty years ago, his father held the same position Pfile now holds — first counselor of the Montana Presidency.
His father would frequently travel up U. S. Highway 87, and he envisioned the day that Havre was the center of a growing Mormon presence on the Hi-Line.
The LDS Church had already purchased what was then pasture land in the largely undeveloped Highland Park area.
Twenty-seven years ago, Pfile's father took part in the groundbreaking of the new Washington Avenue church.
Wednesday night, Pfile traveled the same route his father had and presided over the groundbreaking for the project that will double the size of the building.
Church officials and city leaders used shovels to formally break the ground on a small plot in front of the existing building, as a crowd seated on folding chairs watched.
Bishop Bob Quinn said the ceremony was being held there because "this is the piece of ground we have that isn't already broken."
Construction has already started in the area to the south of the existing building. LDS officials hope work will be completed by spring. The church serves Mormons from the Canadian border to the Missouri River.
Havre City Councilwoman Pam Hillery, speaking for Mayor Tim Solomon, said she was delighted to be part of the ceremony because so many of her friends are Mormons.
"The city is always glad to see growth," she said. "And this growth is wonderful because what you do here is wonderful."
Hillery joined church leaders working to dig their shovels into the hardened ground to dig some dirt.
Then families were urged to come forward and shovel some soil on their own, so children could someday say they took part in the groundbreaking.
Pfile said after the ceremony that the building was very important to Mormons.
"What happens in the chapel is the most important part of our religion," he said.
From this building, he said, missionaries between the ages of 19 to 21 go on missions around the world, spreading the news of their religion, he said.
The church is always open to the public, he said. People are invited to services any Sunday.
Until the construction is completed, services will be held at the Seventh Day Adventest school.