By Martin J. Kidston
History buffs looking to secure Havre's historic homes through preservation have scheduled a public hearing next week to spread the word and muster support for reestablishing the Havre Historic Preservation Commission.
The commission, passed with full support back in 1989, fell out of existence shortly thereafter.
Now, councilwoman Emily Mayer Lossing, along with other citizens, are spearheading an effort to bring back the very commission which could help owners of historic homes preserve them on the national register.
"The purpose of the commission would be to provide assistance to historic home owners who need it in the way of design and research, and preserving their home as a whole," Lossing said. "If a home owner wants to place their home on the national register of historic places, we would help out with the application process, which can be long and tedious."
In order for a home to be considered a "historic place," Lossing said it has to meet three criteria: It has to be 50 years old or older; it has to have historical significance to the community; and it has to be a unique piece of architecture -- 50-year-old tract-housing doesn't qualify, Lossing said, but a Queen Ann home of the same age would count as historic.
Once a home is deemed to have historic value, the Havre Historic Preservation Commission would like to see a placard, one designating the home as having historical significance, placed upon the premises. As it stands, Lossing said, there are four historic placards in the entire town, and one of them is broken and not on display.
"We'd like to encourage historic preservation and promote our public heritage," Lossing said. "And I have done my best to ensure that the city of Havre won't have to come up with any money to run this commission."
In order to tap the interest of historic home owners and ordinary citizens, Lossing said the up-and-coming commission will hold a public hearing on Monday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. in the city council chambers.