As soon as my friends arrived at the Havre Amtrak depot we scurried to the nearby Railroad Museum. It’s just two blocks from the depot so it’s very convenient, even if you don’t have transportation. We were going to try to squeeze in as much touring as possible that afternoon and what a fun place to start!
You could literally stand in the middle of this museum and turn very slowly absorbing all of the memorabilia for a very long time. My favorite display is the toy train replica shown here.
The late Frank DeRosa worked tirelessly to make this museum, and also Havre Beneath the Streets, a reality. Visitors to Havre Beneath the Streets purchase their tickets and start that tour at the Railroad Museum. And, that was going to be our next tour.
Many years ago Havre had a fire in the downtown area and quite a few businesses relocated beneath the streets while rebuilding was going on. When you combine that with several other factors, alcohol prohibition, prostitution, persecution of Chinese railroad workers…well, a few businesses tucked underground seemed to be the answer to a lot of sticky problems!
As a youngster I remember walking along Havre’s streets and seeing purple glass squares in the sidewalk. Those are still there in some areas today and they let in a considerable amount of light to the underground level. It’s far more fascinating to see them from below.
We walked through Boone’s Drugstore and saw all of the things that used to be mixed to come up with a remedy or prescription, certainly much different from today.
Typical of earlier drugstores, we also saw an old-time soda fountain. The Sporting Eagle Saloon had great displays and looked like it could have been a pretty wild place in it’s day.
A bakery with the brick oven built into the lower wall is there, also a meat market and the office of Shorty Young, local Havre businessman. A dentist office, the Fountain barber shop, a blacksmith shop and many more combine to make this an amazing tour. And, it’s all underground.
Havre Beneath the Streets is open year ’round. Tours are all led by docents and that is where you hear the interesting trivia of Havre’s earlier days.