By Emily Mayer for the Havre Daily News
Timeless, enduring, permanent and strong are only four words that describe the Neo-Classical style of architecture. Following Greek and to some extent Roman architectural orders, typical elements of this form are a very prominent portico with colossal columns, quoins, symmetry, and a feeling the building is monumental along with a sense of permanency.
Havre's finest example of this style is the Heritage Center. Originally designed as a two-story structure, successful lobbying along with the arrival of several federal offices changed the building to the current three-story structure we enjoy today. Just looking at our Heritage Center and its swag and sunburst moldings over the first-story windows, leaded glass panels on the north and south sides of the building, the columns and the entryway with swan pediment and pineapple motif (a symbol of welcome in Colonial times) invites people to come in and enjoy the beautiful woodwork, marble wainscoting, terrazzo floors and doors still containing the original double glue-chip glass and transom windows. Original mailboxes and the vaulted plaster ceiling on the first floor are also beautiful architectural features that add to the history of our building.
The Heritage Center will be the site of much activity this week, most notably the 29th annual Montana History Conference that began Thursday. Historians, museum personnel and preservationists will visit the area and attend workshops and informative sessions as well as seeing our wealth of heritage. The Havre Historic Preservation Commission joins others in welcoming everyone and we hope you enjoy your stay.
The exhibit "A Capital Capitol" can still be seen at the Clack Museum in the Heritage Center until Monday. The hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Betsy Pollington has graciously loaned the Clack Museum the stunning and beautiful quilt she recently won from the Hi-Line Quilt Guild and it is now on display in the museum.
On the subject of quilts, the Quilt Registry cosponsored by the Montana Historical Society and the local preservation commission will take place 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Heritage Center lobby on Saturday as part of the conference.
Another event taking place at the Heritage Center will be the presentation of "The Tradition of the Christmas Tree" Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. in the lobby. Trees decorated in various eras of development will be shown and then placed in the public viewing room in the lobby until the week after Christmas. This event has been over a year in the making and we thank the Clack Museum board for volunteering to help out during this event as well as the Clack Foundation board for allowing us to host these events in the Heritage Center. We also will be helping out with the decoration of the Heritage Center for the holidays and will be taking care of the grounds, raking leaves, picking up debris, and planting and taking care of flowers. So much good can come from partnerships such as this, not only for those involved but for the entire community.
The Havre Historic Preservation Commission thanks Steve Hamblock, Larry Pyle, Dale Naber and Shawn Hamilton, the crew from NorthWestern Energy who recently put up our wonderful light pole banners. We have heard many positive remarks on how nice they look and how they enhance the historic district. The goal is to have the entire historic district lined with the banners to show exactly where it is as well as generating interest in history and historic preservation.
We wish the Grand Union Hotel in Fort Benton a happy 120th birthday. In honor of this event, the community of Fort Benton will have home tours and a high tea (Lady Loy Chvilicek will host the tea), formal ball with period dress and an open house at the Grand Union, in addition to other events. This all takes place Nov. 1-2. For more information, please call (406) 622-1882.
The Havre Historic Preservation Commission meets the third Thursday of every month except August, November and December, at 7 p.m. in the Heritage Center. The office is housed in the Heritage Center and is open by appointment. Call 265-6233 for more information.