September 10, 2007 – The Underground at Havre

Today’s travels took us to Havre, Montana and we visited Havre Beneath the Streets.

In 1904, a fire wiped out many of the business in the downtown. Instead of losing customers and money, the businesses moved below ground to set up shop. The underground was also used for bootlegging until prohibition was lifted. The businesses and passageways covered a six block by four block area. Most of the underground was abandoned in the 1930’s. In 1990, a group of local volunteers got together and decided to find out if anything still existed. There were able to find a one block area that was in stable condition and cleaned/fixed it up and started giving tours.

The tour was fascinating. Our tour guide, Mary, took us through the area while telling us the history and local lore of the town’s beginnings. She was part of the initial volunteers and told us of some of the items that they recovered that are over 100 years old. It was fascinating.

Here is one of the passages:
The bordello:

The saloon:

The bakery:

This is the office of Shorty Young – one of the successful businessmen of that time. Hopefully you can see the floor in this picture – it is original and it was a beautiful hardwood floor.

Shorty left three buildings to his heirs who sold them and invested the money. Today, the dividends from those investments are donated to the young and the elderly in the town thru the Elks, Masons, and Eagles.

After the tour, we checked out the rest of the town with a stop at the local Wal-Mart.

We are staying at the Great Northern Fair Campground in Havre – nice.

Miles Traveled: 105
Routes Traveled:
Montana: US-2

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