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Living History: 2,000 years on display


John Kelleher

Members of the Bullhook Bottoms Black Powder Club fire a Civil War-era cannon during last year's Living History event.

Starting about 2,000 years ago, Native Americans used a buffalo jump just west of what is now Havre to kill bison and feed their families.

Just over 100 years ago, downtown Havre was a colorful city with a hearty nightlife and entertaining, colorful characters.

Saturday, the city will celebrate its past — from the buffalo jump to Havre Beneath the Streets — and all points in between.

Every historical attraction will be filled with events designed to teach people northern Montana history in an exciting way.

Starting at 11 a.m., North Central Montana Transit will provide free transportation from Town Square to the H. Earl Clack Museum, the Everything Antiques at the Great Northern Fairgrounds, Fort Assinniboine and then back to downtown and Havre Beneath the Streets.

Fort Assinniboine

At Fort Assinniboine, just south of Havre off U.S. Highway 87, people will be given rides around the fort, and volunteers will tell them the history of the fort that housed soldiers involved in the Indian wars.

Darrin Boss from the Northern Research Center will drive a tractor that will pull the “Blackjack,” a tour wagon named after Gen. Blackjack Pershing, who spent his earlier years at the fort. Visitors on the tour wagon will be told the history of the fort.

The Blackjack will visit parts of the fort that are usually closed to the public, said Gary Wilson, president of the Fort Assinniboine Preservation Association.

Before beginning the tour, visitors get a chance to hear about similar Canadian forts from a man who plays the role of a Royal Canadian Mounted Officer at Fort Walsh in Canada.

Pastor John Bruington will play the role of a U.S. cavalryman who was stationed at the fort.

At noon, members of Fort Belknap‘s White Clay Society will speak on their tribe’s connection with the fort, and at 2 p.m., Martin Holt will play the role of Theodore Roosevelt and give a talk on Roosevelt’s life.

Bullhook Bottoms Blackpowder Club members will demonstrate their skills with antique weapons, and shadow boxes taken from the fort that include information on Havre -area history.

Eddie Fallo and the Band will perform in the afternoon. The band will play music from the fort’s era.

Tours will be $5. There will be no charge for children 6 and younger.

H. Earl and Margaret Turner Clack Museum

The museum will be open all day with discounted rates.

The highlight of the day’s activities will be at 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., when museum board president Judi Dritshulas will dress up as Margaret Turner Clack for a tea.

People are invited to come in and talk to Mrs. Clack, who will be dressed as she might be have dressed in her era. The china and the tablecloth will be as it was when Mrs. Clack was in Havre.

Dritshulas said Margaret Turner Clack doesn’t get as much attention as her husband, but she was very active in Havre social life.

She played many roles in the First Presbyterian Church and was active in PEO, a group that provides scholarships to young women.

A look at her life tells a great deal about Havre history, she said.

The Montana Historical Society is planning a yearlong event in 2014 marking the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in Montana, she said. Events will focus on more than women in politics, but on women’s role in everyday life.

This will be a good kickoff for those events, she said.

Wahpka Chu’gn Buffalo Jump

There will be discounted rates — $7 for adults, $4 for children — to encourage people to take part in Living History.

Anna Brumley, manager of the buffalo jump, said more people are enjoying the tour every year.

Havre Beneath the Streets

Tours will be offered every half hour throughout the day, 9 a.m.. to 4 p.m., and there will be discounted tickets — $8 for each tour.

Throughout the exhibits volunteers will play the roles of people who lived in Havre during the early 20th century.

“I think people will really enjoy it,” said Christy Owens, the executive director.

Everything Antique

This is the sixth year the antique show has been held at the Great Northern Fairgrounds.

On the fairgrounds, there will be displays of tractors, plows, cars and other large items, while smaller items will be displayed inside, said Charles Inman, who has been involved in the show from the start.

Conrad Nystrom will demonstrate blacksmithing and will explain its processes and history at 11 a.m. Saturday, and there will be threshing demonstrations at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Bands singing music of past eras will perform Saturday, he said.

“People from quite a distance attend,” Inman said.

Exhibitors from Washington state to Minnesota are expected.

The hours are:

• Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

• Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


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