By Robert Lucke
When the Lucke house at 900 Third Ave. was completed, it was one of the most modern in the young community of Havre.
Its style is called by several names. Bungalow and Craftsman are the most common. First appearing in Southern California, it was the dominant house style in the country from 1905 to the 1920s. It was featured in most pattern magazines of the time. By the 1930s its popularity had declined. Few have been built until just recently when the Bungalow style experienced a slight resurgence.
In all probability Hattie and Lou Lucke saw the pattern for their house, called the Hollywood, in a Sears pattern book. Havre architect Frank Bossuot modified it for them and oversaw the construction.
In 1913 Hattie Lucke's mother, Barbara Thackeray, built the house at 916 Third Ave. and that next year the Luckes started their own on the corner of Ninth Street and Third Avenue.
The current owner, Lou Lucke, thinks that the garage was finished first and became a workroom so that construction could continue during the winter. The Luckes moved into the house in 1915. Still later the garage became a dry cleaning plant until a new one could be built on Tenth Street.
Little has changed in the interior of the house since it was built. However, both the Lucke house and 916 Third Ave. had dramatic changes to their front facades in the 1960s. In the case of the Lucke house, half of the front porch was removed and the front door was changed from the east to north side of the house. This change was radical because before that the house had the look of a Spanish bungalow with heavy pillars and a wide, arched porch facade. And like many of Havre's bungalows, the porch went through several transitions during the years. It started out as an open porch. Later it was screened and still later it was glassed in.
Even though there is not any of the original Spanish look left to the house, inside it still contains a huge living room with fireplace on the main floor, along with a dining room complete with half timbering and a massive beamed ceiling. A large kitchen, two bedrooms, a bath and a half, a front vestibule and that porch go to make up the rest of the main floor.
The second floor contains three more bedrooms and a half bath. The basement features the original furnace that reportedly came from Fort Assinniboine and a one bedroom apartment built by Bee Lucke. After Lou Lucke died in 1940, the family did not want Mrs. Lucke to live in the house alone, hence the basement apartment.
Hattie Lucke lived in the house until 1977 when she sold it to her grandchild and his wife, Lou and Joan Lucke. At the time they were living in Bozeman and rented the house out until they moved to Havre in 1981.
A funny story. Hattie Lucke was fond of saying that when her husband, Lou, built the house for her, he figured that was the last thing he would ever have to do for her. "And it was," she added.
Never leaving the Lucke family since it was built is probably a testament to how well the house has met the needs of its owners through the years.
Two things about the house have bothered present owner Lou Lucke.
"The basement stairs," he said. "They go almost straight down. When the house was being built, workmen used a ladder to go up and down. They might have just was well have left the ladder. That, and I could never figure out why both main floor bathrooms were so close together. Then someone told me that the kids could come in the house and just take one step to a bathroom and then go back outside. That would keep the rest of the house clean. Makes sense to me."
There are so many good features in the house that Lucke had to stop and think when asked to describe the best of all.
"It is the way the sun comes in the front windows. I just love that," Lucke said. "That and the hot water heat. I have never run into anything any more efficient even though we could never get a thermostat that would work on the boiler. And like most old houses, it keeps me busy all the time. I never run out of things to do."
Sources for this story include "Historic Homes of North Central Montana" by Robert Lucke, "Houses by Mail" by Katherine Cole Stevenson and H. Ward Jandi, and "A Field Guide to American Houses" by Virginia and Lee McAlester.