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Helmbrecht receives preservation award


Havre Daily News/Floyd Brandt

Wade Bitz, from left, Lynda Taplin, Steve Helmbrecht, Becki Miller and Keith Doll pose for a photograph Wednesday in front of the Helmbrecht Photography Studio on Fourth Avenue with the award the Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission presented to Helmbrecht.

Havre native and longtime photographer Steve Helmbrecht has won the Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission's 2017 Preservation Award for his contribution to historic preservation through photography.

Members of the commision presented Helmbrecht with the annual award Wednesday afternoon.

"It's a real honor, and it's just reassuring that people appreciate what you do," Helmbrecht said.

Preservation Officer Becki Miller said Helmbrecht's contribution to historic preservation goes beyond the pictures he takes of buildings and events in the Hill County region.

Helmbrecht has preserved his more-than-a-century-old Fourth Avenue studio building, which was passed down to him by his father, also a photographer. Before Vern Helmbrecht bought the building in the 1950s, photographer Myrtle Fullmer shot in that building. And before Fullmer, another photographer, Philip Brainerd, used it as his studio. The building has been used as a photography studio for 100 years.

"We just want to recognize him for how important photography is to preservation and that he's maintained the building," Miller said.

Helmbrecht said another aspect to his preservation is the archives of community negatives stored in the building. A century worth of photos are stored in the Helmbrecht building, he said.

Helmbrecht was born and raised in Havre, taking a break to get a journalism degree from University of Montana. He said he took over the business in the building from his father in 1983.


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