By Emily Mayer Lossing
There has been a lot going on in Havre going on in the past few weeks. There seems to be enough snow at Bear Paw Ski Bowl to keep ski enthusiasts skiing the slopes, we were hosts of the State Speech meet and the Class C basketball tournaments. After the last big snow, many children were enjoying the Sled Hill on Northern's campus. There is something going on for everyone in Havre.
The Ordinance Committee is getting ready to repeal several ordinances that no longer have a meaning in today's society, and most of these ordinances are now controlled by the State, so there is little sense in having these in our books. Some of these do, however, carry an historical context. For example, during the campaign to "Clean Up Havre," a few ordinances were passed on "Houses of Ill Repute" and also the activities of "ladies of ill repute" in Havre. These were mostly aimed at a man named C. W. "Shorty" Young, who was on of Havre's biggest vice kings. References to these ordinances and the history behind them can be read in Gary Wilson's "Honky Tonk Town" and "Grits, Guts and Gusto" written by Havre's Bicentennial Committee. Another example of an ordinance awaiting repeal pertains to opium dens. There was a real problem in the late 1800s and early 1900s of opium addiction by Havre residents, and in order to curb the problems associated with addiction, an ordinance was passed banning the sale and use of opium within the Havre city limits. There were three known opium dens in existence at the time (more are suspected) and these were supposedly shut down right away. One of the dens is part of Havre Beneath the Streets tour. Laws on opium are now controlled by Federal law. Both of these ordinances were passed in 1904. It is time to take these off of our books, now that other governmental entities (state and federal) now control these laws. However, it is interesting and fun to study the history as to why these ordinances were passed in the first place. If you are interested in attending the Ordinance Committee meetings, we normally meet the third Monday of each month at 7 in the evening. The meetings, as always, are open to the public.
If you have any questions or comments, you may contact me at 265-6233 or write me at 124 Third Street, Havre, Montana 59501.
Here's hoping for an early spring!