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Havre of the Past: 1893 news - panics, mansions

 

August 9, 2013

Emily Mayer

The first Governor's Mansion, built by W. A. Chessman in 1888.

Most of the news in this week’s Havre Advertiser, dated Aug. 8, 1893, was of a state and national level. The largest story that ran was regarding the financial crisis caused by changing the monetary standard to silver, thus causing the Silver Panic of 1893. Back then, there were no depressions or recessions; they were called Panics, and the Panic of 1893 was particularly devastating. One small article appeared on the front page that read:

W. A. Chessman, a Helena capitalist has assigned. Liabilities $265,000; assets 1,000,000. H. M. Parchen, druggist, has assigned to L. A. Walker.

W. A. Chessman had his hands in a lot of enterprises in the Helena area. With his fortune, he constructed a beautiful home located at 304 North Ewing St. in Helena in 1888. Cass Gilbert, one of the country’s foremost architects, designed the building. Chessman also built some apartments across the street. He lost his entire fortune and his home during the Panic of 1893, and moved his family into one of the apartments. The home he built saw a few more owners before the state of Montana purchased the building March 4, 1913, for use as the Governor’s Mansion, as for the first time the governor was not from Helena and therefore didn’t have his private residence to use. This beautiful Queen Anne mansion served as the governor’s home until October 1959, when a new governor’s residence was built, and Hugo “The Galloping Swede” Aronson moved the executive home to the new location.

The old Governor’s Mansion was then used for offices but in 1969 work started for the home to serve as a museum. It is now a part of the Montana Historical Society. It is one of the first house museums in Montana and is open for tours. The home celebrates two anniversaries this year; its 125th anniversary of construction and the 100th anniversary of being the Governor’s Mansion. A big party was held at the Montana Club earlier this year to celebrate its milestones. The Chessman Apartments are still right across the street.

Local news, of course, could be found in the city and state social pages. Here we find, complete with misspellings:

Vice-President Adlai Stevenson passed through Havre in the beginning of last week, en route to Washington.

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M. J. Healy has just filled his hay contract of 30 tons with Messrs. Broadwater, McCulloh & Co. The price paid was $10 per ton.

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For the benefit of a few of the disconsolate, we would state that the Advertiser is here to stay, and will “hammer” away at the postal service until a change is made for the better.

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Collector of customs D. G. Browne stopped over here one night during the past week. Mr. Browne, who travelled with Vice-President Adlai Stevenson from the west as far as this junction, says, that his distinguished companion was much impressed with the importance, resources, and vast extent of our western country, more especially with Montana, and that he much regretted not having more time at his disposal to further explore a state that interested him so much. This is the first time that a vice-president of the United States has ever visited this part of the realm. The vice president made a short open air speech in Spokane, but did not touch upon those matters to be dealt with at the pending special session of congress.

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And again we would like to ask some one who knows more about it than we do, to rise and explain why it is that persons who have rented postoffice boxes often find mail belonging to others in them. It must be absolute carelessness which with a little precaution could be very easily avoided. The Advertiser goes to press every Monday afternoon preceeding date of publication. This is done in order to get the paper in Tuesday morning’s outgoing mails.

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The columns of the Advertiser are open to anyone who desires to answer these queries.

A new announcement was in this week’s issue. It read:

Notice. All persons indebted to the City Stables of Havre, will please settle their accounts at once with Charles Crawford, who is authorized to collect the same, and save costs. Oscar Johnson.

 

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