By Robert Lucke
These warmish February days when there is not much snow on the level are splendid opportunities to take the family for a walk through Havre and environs. Walking is as good an outdoor activity for the family as there is and exploring Havre is a good time to view it's beauty in new ways while getting a real sense of the history of the area.
Don't miss taking a look at the old Mount Hope Cemetery just east of the fairgrounds.
A casual observation of this place will give a sense of the beginning of the town. Interesting to note that Mount Hope was formed because people were burying the dead just anywherelike where they fell.
Also a glance at the old cemetery soon will let you and your family gain a new appreciation of the importance of Japanese and Chinese families in founding the town.
Mount Hope has a serene simplicity to it that speaks volumes about the area.
Don't miss the new cemetery either. For there are many of folks who made Havre what it is. It is not difficult to determine that Simon Pepin was the founder of the town for to this day he has the largest monument in the cemetery. A little looking will yield the grave stone of Havre's outlaw Long George Francis.
Not only that but reading inscriptions on old monuments tells volumes about both the triumphs and tragedy's that built this country. And in the middle of an incredibly beautiful spot overlooking the college and the beautiful Bear Paws to the south.
When walking after dark, be sure to take the family on a tour of the MSU Northern campus. The highlight of this tour is to view Cowan Hall from a distance bathed in light. One of the most beautiful of all the scenes in Havre, how proud it would make presidents like Vande Bogart, Brockman, and Crowley who worked so hard to make that prairie campus into a place of beauty.
Family excursions like window shopping and watching the trains come in went out about the same time as television came in but to this day they are fun.
Some downtown businesses actually still make a big fuss about what merchandise is in their windows and driving past those businesses in an auto cannot do them justice. Many times Havre business windows are almost art work but it takes persons to slowly saunter past to get the beauty of what is inside of those display windows. Take the family and try it.
And if you don't do anything else this month, find out when Amtrak is coming through Havre and be there when huge engines glide into the depot going so fast you would think they are not going to stop at all. Stop they do and suddenly that part of Havre is filled with people from all over the world taking pictures, glancing around with awe struck eyes at the wild and woolly west, and just looking for someone to answer a few questions about this part of the world. Trains are so exciting for little children to see close up. And for adults too.
Take some time to visit the James Hill Foundation in front of the depot even this part of the year and acquaint your family with the inscriptions of the man whom Hill County is named. Powerful stuff at that foundation and just another source of pride in this community.
And on and on. Do take the family for a February walk around town and find out first hand what this place is made of.