By Robert Lucke
One of Havre's brightest gems is the Kuhr home, located at 636 First Ave.
A Craftsman bungalow built in 1919-1920 for Max and Marian Kuhr, it is virtually unchanged to this day thanks to the loving efforts of the second owners, Paul and Susan Hanson.
The house was designed by Havre architect Frank Bossuot and built by Havre contractor Chris Fuglevand.
Richard Bernstein, who recommended the house for inclusion in Havre's historic district, said, "This structure retains its architectural and historic character and is an excellent local example of a Craftsman bungalow in Havre. It is one of only a few residences throughout town that was professionally designed by an architect. Frank F. Bossuot (1871-1962) was Havre's most prolific architect and a prominent figure across the entire Hi-Line area."
Historically, there are few Havre homes that equal this one. Max Kuhr, a Havre attorney, was the son of Jurgen Kuhr, an early-day cattle and sheep rancher in the Bear Paw Mountains south of Chinook. Marian Kuhr was the daughter of Havre founding father Edward Broadwater. The Kuhrs and their five children lived in the house.
When the Hansons moved into the house in 1987, they were not even looking for a house. Paul Hanson said his father had mentioned that they should look at the Kuhr house, which had just come on the market. Both Hansons wondered why as they already had a house they were happy with. But look they did and that night signed a buy and sell agreement so the house would not get away from them.
Since then they have lived in the house and maintained it as close to its original design as they can. They get visits from Kuhr relatives almost every summer and with them come a wide variety of Kuhr stories.
"One Kuhr told me that when the Kuhrs were building the house, it came in costing more than they had to spend, so they had to go to their families for money to put the roof on the house," Paul Hanson said.
These days, with only the two Hansons living in the house, it is big, but not too big.
"It is lots of house for the two of us," Paul Hanson said. "But if we get mad at each other, there is plenty of room for us to hide out."
The house includes a first- floor enclosed porch, a large living room with wood-burning fireplace and open staircase to the second floor, a dining room with a bay window, kitchen, large master bedroom and bath. The second floor includes three bedrooms, another bathroom and a unique playroom made in child- sized proportions above the front porch.
In the basement are a family room, laundry room, workshop, pantry room and storeroom. There are benches in the basement from when Marian Kuhr used to hold Boy Scout meetings around the furnace.
Susan Hanson thinks often about the times the Kuhrs spent there and how fun it would be to go back in time and see how they lived in the house.
Susan Hanson's favorite room in the house is the kitchen.
"Probably the kitchen is my favorite room," Susan Hanson said. "There is lots of room and I like to bake. When we entertain, everyone is in the kitchen anyway."
Paul Hanson likes the living room and dining room but says the very best feature of all in the house is that to live comfortably, no one need ever go upstairs or downstairs. Everything they would need is on the first floor.
Certainly another great feature is the outward appearance of the house. With its narrow white clapboard siding, its red brick trim and fireplace chimney, the house looks like it just jumped right out of a Christmas card.
Sources for this story include a survey done for Bear Paw Development Corp. during the creation of the Havre's residential historic district. Richard Bernstein's comments date to 1988 and are on file with the survey forms at the Havre-Hill County Library.