Havre Daily News - News you can use

Celebrating history: Members heading east to buy furniture for Masonic Temple


Last updated 1/22/2016 at 9:58pm

By Emily Mayer

The news in the papers 100 years ago was varied and diverse. We start with news from The Havre Plaindealer in its Jan. 22, 1916 issue.


Wm. Kendig and Thos. McKenzie left this week for Grand Rapids and other furniture manufacturing cities where they will purchase furniture for the new Masonic temple in this city. En route they will inspect several large temples in order to gain a thorough knowledge of just what furniture is needed to thoroughly equip a temple of the magnitude of that in Havre.

As usual, there was a lot of news of social gatherings in the  Societ  column.  Here is one of those entries:

Engagement Announced

On Wednesday evening Mrs. L. K. Devlin and Mrs. Jas. G. Holland entertained at six tables of bridge and took this occasion to announce the engagement of their sister, Miss Lillian Lepper to Mr. Clinton J. Bishop of Shelby, Montana.

Each guest was presented with an envelope adorned with Cupid and to the strains of Mendelssohns Wedding march, these were opened and found to contain the names of the happy couple and the date of their wedding, which has been set for February third.  After congratulations, the hostess served a two-course menu.  The guests were all young friends of the bride-elect and included:  Mrs. Jas. Holland, Mrs. Gustave Haglund, Mrs. Arnold Kapernick, Mrs. Edgar Siefred, Misses Helen Cosgrove, Evelyn Boyle, Vivian Harvey, Edith Holland, Barbara Hess, Edna Burke, Hazel Kennedy, Harriet Carrier, Ligorie Healey, Marjory Brown, Lenna Guay, Cecelia de Lorimer, Alice Burke, Etta Dewar, Inez Everett, Mabel Richmond and Ellen Lamey.

Here is some good news from the business front:


Articles of incorporation of the Havre Milling company were this week filed in the office of Clerk and Recorder Devine.  The capital stock is $20,000 half of which is paid in Havre, M. S. Williams of Williston.  The incorporators are A. C. Cobb of N. D., J. R. Grogan of Great Falls and W. H. Grogan of Glasgow.

The company’s mill is in this city, located on West Second street, is nearing completion and will soon be put into commission.

The Havre Mill was located right next to the Hill County Creamery building. The Hill County Creamery was sold in 1949 and renamed the Glacier Trail Creamery. The building later became part of Vita Rich Dairy and was razed in 1993 to make a parking lot for the Senior Center. I don’t know when the Mill was razed, but several houses now occupy the grounds.

News was not that great coming from the Havre Hotel.

Fire was discovered in the basement of the Hotel Havre Tuesday night by one of the hotel employees who went down into that part of the hotel about 11:30 o’clock.  It was directly under the hotel bar, and though it was put out with little difficulty, having only fairly started, it is considered fortunate that the employee chanced to make his trip at that hour, since the bar closes at midnight, and after that hour the chances are that the fire might have gained considerable headway before being discovered.

In the Hill County Democrat’s Jan. 21, 1916 issue, we find this entry in what passes for the editorial column:

“Joseph Berthelote, county commissioner, can feel proud of the personal interest which he has taken in Hill County’s new court house.  It is a magnificent structure, of which we all have reason to feel proud.  He has given the matter of its construction careful and painstaking personal attention, the same as an owner would take in the erection of his own building.  He has wrought well.  Hill county citizens should and do feel very grateful to Mr. Berthelote for the intense interest he has taken and the arduous labor he has bestowed upon the new court-house.  Havre and Hill county are proud of this county home for the officers.  Speaking for the entire bar of the county we desire to express the appreciation of all the lawyers and wish to say that the county commissioners are entitled to the gratitude of all the lawyers, the court, the citizens and taxpayers and Mr. Berthelote especially for the fact that Hill county has one of the most, if not the most, beautiful, commodious, and comfortable court-houses in the state.

I echo J. K. Bramble’s sentiment. Hill County’s Courthouse is still the most beautiful courthouse in the state on the outside, and what we’ve lost over the years on the inside is made up for with the hard-working, dedicated group of elected officials and employees second to none anywhere.

However, not all of the news was rosy. We all know of Havre’s bawdy, raucous reputation in the past, and sometimes this is played out in the papers, though not often. Newspapers back then were concerned more about projecting a positive image to attract settlers and entice businesses than they were about airing the community’s “dirty laundry.” 

I had heard of this reference for years and have finally read it on the Democrat’s front page:


The following letter was received from Rudyard this week.

Ed. Hill County Democrat. Dear Sir:

In justice of our town of Havre which I have been a citizen of, for the past five years and expect to be for the next five or more I am enclosing a clipping published by Law and Order League of Chicago.  Please answer it and send a copy to me.  Yours for Havre, J. A. Smith.

Owing to a rush of job work we are unable to publish an answer at this time, but give below the clipping sent which disproves itself.

The clipping says in part:

One Wicked Little City

“We visited twenty-eight principal cities en route from Chicago to the coast,” says Mr. Wilson to the Mail Tribune. “In Washington and Oregon”, he continued, “I found conditions much improved.  Butte, Mont., however, is a disgrace to our American civilization. A maelstrom of purification will strike it soon. But of all the municipalities we have visited, a little city called Havre, Montana, is incomparably the worst. Everything is licensed there, and its most vicious forms of evil are found in broad daylight in the streets and trading places. There is no protection for anyone against anything. It is the sum total of all that is vicious and depraved parading openly without restraint, so long as it complies with the law of license.-Mail Tribune.

During this era, to be called worse than Butte was a real insult.

Butte has always been a gritty, tough, no-holds-barred kind of town not afraid of its reputation or overly concerned about what the rest of the world thinks of it. That is part of its charm, and personally I love Butte because of it.

Hopefully, a response will be published in the next issue, and if so you will read it here.


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