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Heritage mural hangs in Havre

 

February 22, 2018

Havre Daily News/Ryan Welch

Wade Bitz, left, and Shawn Holden, great-grandson and grandson, respectively, of Henry Bitz, stand in front of a new mural put up on the side of Holden's Hot Wheels showing Henry Bitz and five of his sons including Wade Bitz' father, Daniel.

A local preservation group officially announced Wednesday afternoon the first of a series of murals celebrating local heritage has been hung on a First Street business building.

Members of the Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission gathered at Holden's Hot Wheels to celebrate a mural that depicts a family of  German immigrants, a father and his five sons.

"The reason I love this mural project is that the photograph has a story," said Becki Miller, historic preservation officer for the preservation commission. "Many of the photographs we looked at, we didn't know the people in them, but the Bitz brothers photo has a story and it is of a family that is still part of the Hi-Line community."

The picture was taken by Helmbrecht Photography in 1960 and was commissioned by Sig Dyrland of Northern Implement Company of Big Sandy.

The mural caption says: "Area farmer, Henry Bitz, third from the left, who immigrated from Germany via Odessa Russia, is pictured with his sons in front of the Great Northern Rail cars that delivered their 21 international drills."

The Bitz family are all dressed in suits bought from The Hub, a local store at the time.

The mural is personal for Shawn Holden, co-owner of the store on which the mural hangs, and Wade Bitz, a preservation commission member and local farmer.

The mural highlights the different industries and people of the area, said Bitz, who is Henry Bitz' great-grandson and whose grandfather, Daniel, also is in the picture. Wade now farms his grandfathers's farm.

Holden's relation to the Bitz is through his mother, who was Henry Bitz' daughter, Holden said.

The mural was hung Jan. 29, Miller said. Other mural project ideas include ones related to Fresno Dam, Fort Assinniboine and Beaver Creek.

 

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