Havre Historic Downtown and Railroad District - Havre

Havre's Historic Downtown Business District

James J. Hill was also very aware of the corrupt image held by Havre and attempted to "clean up" the town. Hill called for social change claiming Havre's image tarnished any chance to entice outside investors. For awhile, the city did make an attempt to become a reputable town, however, the people of Havre still frequented the many saloons, gambling halls, and the red light district on Havre's west end of town along First Avenue and First Street.

Local entrepreneurs saw the potential of the homestead boom could provide and promoted Havre as well. The Havre Industrial Association and the Havre Business Association did their parts to bring settlers to Havre, with promotional slogans such as "Boost-Don't Knock" and "Do it -Habit of Havre" and newspaper ads describing Havre as a "City of Progress."

Historic Railroad District

In 1887, two decisions by the federal government influenced the development of northern Montana. First Congress passed a bill that granted St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railroad a 150 foot easement through reservations and military reserves, including Fort Assinniboine. It also gave the railroad the right to use resources for construction purposes, as well as land to build stations. The railroad wasted no time and the construction of the Manitoba's Montana extension began in April 1887. On September 6, 1887, the Manitoba reached Bull Hook Bottoms. In 1889, Great Northern Railway was created out of the Manitoba, forming what would be the northern most transcontinental railroad in the U.S., through the area that as a result became colloquially know as the "Hi-Line."

Bull Hook Bottoms got a boost, when the Great Northern was selecting the location for their Rocky Mountain crossing. In 1890 the area got another boost when a water shortage on Beaver Creek, forced the Great Northern to find a reliable water resource for their Pacific Extension. Bull Hook Bottoms' location on the Milk River fit the bill. The Great Northern then sent several hundred workers to Bull Hook Bottoms to build a depot and several rail sidings. In 1891 Bull Hook Siding was chosen the Great Northern division point.

The Havre Hill County Historic Commission had made available a self guided walking tour map. Maps of these 2 additional historic districts are available at Havre Beneath the Streets/Railroad Museum, H. Earl Clack Museum, the Havre/Hill County Library, the Vande Bogart Library on the MSU-Northern's campus and the Havre Chamber of Commerce.


Mailing Address
Not Available

Street Address
130 5th Avenue
Havre,  MT 59501

Phone: 406-265-4383
Fax: 406-265-7748

Directions are on the self guided tour maps. Pick up your maps at the Chamber of Commerce, Havre Hill County Library or visit our website havrehillpreservation.org to view interactive maps of the historic districts.

All Year

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Maps, Parking, Registered Historic Site, Tour

History, Photography, Tour