By Robert Lucke
In Havre's historic residential district, there are any number of both architecturally and historically significant houses. However, there is only one that is of the Arts and Crafts Style. That in itself would make it stand alone, but add to that the fact that it is a brick house with a front gable entrance, seldom seen in these parts, along with its historic background and the fact that it is a very beautiful structure, and you have one of the most important houses in Havre.
This beauty was built in 1928 by John Kaepernick, an early-day Great Northern Railroad conductor. Its style, Arts and Crafts, in this structure features lots of windows, a strong use of woods in very ornamental shapes, granite keystones above each window and granite window sills below. This house just shouts out strength and beauty.
Marion Martin has owned the house for 41 years, making him the longest owner of the house in its history. That's for a reason. He just simply loves the house even though, like many of Havre's historic houses, it needs tender loving care frequently.
He and his wife, Doris, talked about the house while sitting in a huge living room that runs across the width of the structure.
"I suppose that it is all the space in the house that I like best," Marion Martin said. "And it is solid brick and such a well-built house. It is just a very nice house to have and there is so much room."
The house is large, 1,200 square feet on the first floor, another 1,200 square feet on the second floor, and another 378 square feet added on later.
Not only that but it is solid with its 14 inch walls. Sit in that house and there is no noise from Sixth Avenue, which runs in front of the house.
Even the living room fireplace is unique. Arts and Crafts style, the fireplace features three plain raised panels, not something seen elsewhere in Havre.
Martin attributes his first wife's love of the house as being the reason they bought it in the first place.
"My wife was the influence to buy this house. She used to go and practice music here when it belonged to the Peytons. That was when she was a girl and she always loved it," Martin said.
It is a huge house inside too. Lots of rooms. On the main floor there is a huge windowed front vestibule, living room, dining room, computer room, sun porch, breakfast room and a large bedroom with adjoining full bath.
The second floor has four bedrooms and another full bath.
In the basement there is a large two-bedroom apartment. The apartment is "original equipment" in this house, having been built by the first owners to live in while completing the upper areas.
Out back is a single-car garage, just as ornate and having as many of the Arts and Crafts features as the main house.
A word about the roofs on both structures. They are galvanized steel tiles, painted and made to resemble Spanish tiles. They've been there since the house was finished and Martin says it has never leaked.
Doris Martin says that she would like to do some updating of the house one of these days and spends a lot of time doing what she calls "reducing the inventory." She laughs when she talks about it.
There have been lots of changes in the interior of this house through the years. A few exterior changes as well. That is what happens when a family lives in a house and lifestyles vary.
What hasn't changed is the unique Arts and Craft style of the house. That and the solid, beautiful durability of that grand edifice.
Some research of this house was taken from "Havre's Historic Homes" by Jon Axline.