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Preservation Commission puts up second historic photograph mural


November 6, 2019

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

A new mural sponsored by Havre/Hill County Preservation Commission and highlighting history of the area wraps around the corner of Havre Eagles Club.

Editor’s note: This version corrects the source of the photograph used in the mural.

Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission put up its second mural in Havre Tuesday, on the north and west sides of the Havre Eagles Club building Tuesday.

"This is our second in a series of historic photos that we are beginning to roll out downtown," Havre/Hill County Historic Preservation Commission Chair Wade Bitz said.

Bitz said the commission chose the Eagles Club because not only were the members receptive to having the mural on their building, but also the mural is placed at a high-exposure corner of the building and on First Street.

Bitz added that the mural is "an effort to improve some of the historic tourism that the Preservation Commission was tasked to encourage in Havre."

The mural is a collection of images the commission had from the Al Lucke Collection.

"We are looking for images that have people from Havre's past that have a rich history, and this particular cowboy band, which was directed by 'Long George' Francis, is pretty neat to Havre's historic past," he said. "We are looking for images that not only have historic characters from the past, but show a real vibrancy of what was going on in Havre at the time, either physical action going on in them or just provide an opportunity for people to really question what was going on, why that group was even around in Havre.

The Preservation Commission was awarded  a grant by the Hill County Community Foundation to put up the mural.

In 2018, the commission put up a mural of a photograph of local farmer Henry Bitz and his sons in front of Great Northern Railway cars that delivered their 21 international drills.

The Preservation Commission's work is a separate project from the work by Havre's Downtown Revitalization Committee, which put up a mural made by Havre High School art students in September on the side of Floren's Hill County Printing.

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Wade Bitz (left) and Steve Christensen work on hanging a mural featuring the Havre Cowboy Band on the Eagles building.

"We are also trying to improve the image of Havre as people travel through - trying to get people to grab some interest, stop, spend some time, spend some money in Havre and give us the opportunity to continue this project later down the road," Bitz said.

Havre Eagles Club manager Tom Farnham said he thinks the mural is neat, that it is one of the things that has fallen into place with the downtown revitalization.

"Just one of those things that grab a tourist aside as they are passing through and they could look back in time, and then if they are interested ... they can check it out and next thing you know they are checking out Havre Beneath the Streets. They will find out the history of Havre and the colorful background Havre has," Farnham said.

He added that the mural catches a person's eye.

"I think it's a good location and would like to see more of it."


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