By Emily Mayer Lossing
The next few articles will be describing an architecture form not commonly found in Montana, but prevalent in California and the Southwest: Spanish style architecture.
There are three forms of Spanish style architecture Mission, Spanish and Moorish.
The Mission style of architecture has several distinguishable characteristics. The most recognizable are the curvaceous parapets or walls that rise above the roof line. These parapets contain decorative elements such as a quatrefoil, or four-leaf clover. Some function as a bell tower if the structure is a church. Roofs are constructed generally of red tile, although they're not exclusively that color. Wide eaves with plain or carved rafters not only are aesthetic touches, but also function to diffuse the hot sun and provide temporary shelter during rainfall. Arched arcades are a common feature, as well as arched windows and doorways. The doors themselves were very heavily built. Wrought iron is also a feature on Mission style architecture. Stucco was used as exterior coverings.
While California and the Southwest have many buildings of this style, Montana doesn't have very many. There are two very good examples of the Mission style in Havre. The premier example is St. Jude's Catholic Church, built in 1924. The other is located just outside the Agency at Fort Belknap on U.S. Highway 2. Although time is taking its toll on this church, it is still a good example of Mission style architecture. The name Mission comes from the Catholic missions built in the Southwest. However, not all of them were built in the Mission style.
The Havre Historic Preservation Commission is busy preparing for National Preservation Week, set for May 11-18, and we hope to release details on our celebration soon. We are accepting nominations for the fourth annual Havre Historic Preservation Award until April 15. We welcome two new members to the commission, Rob Harrison and Carol Reifschneider. We also thank Toni Hagener and Jack Brandon for all of their assistance, advice and expertise on the commission for the past two years.
During our February meeting, it was decided to try conducting tours of the Residential Historic District, starting May 18 and ending Sep. 21. Tours will be conducted if the weather cooperates. The tour will highlight a small but navigable area of the Residential Historic District, starting at the Heritage Center, going west two blocks on Third Street, parts of First, Second and Third avenues and ending at the Heritage Center. We are estimating the tour will last about an hour. There will be no charge for the tour, but we will accept donations. The time chosen is Saturday evenings at 7.
Why just one day and why at that time, you might ask? We want to see just how much interest is generated within the community to see if this is a viable venture. The time was chosen for two reasons. One is that it tends to be cooler in the evening than the afternoon during the summer. Reason two is it does not conflict with tour times at other sites in Havre like Fort Assinniboine and Wahkpa Chu'gn. If demand is such that we would need to conduct more tours, we will look at other days and times, but if there is no interest, then we at least tried it.
If you are interested in historic preservation, please call me at 265-6233. Regular meetings of the commission are the third Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. in the second floor meeting room of the Heritage Center.