Havre, Montana

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Havre (pronounced /ˈhævər/, "havv-er") is a city in, and the county seat of, Hill County, Montana, United States.[1] It is said to be named after the city of Le Havre in France.[2][3] The population was 9,621 at the 2000 census.



Located in north central Montana, Havre was incorporated in 1893. It was founded primarily to serve as a major railroad service center for the Great Northern Railway (built by James J. Hill) with its location midway between Seattle and Minneapolis-St. Paul. A statue of Hill stands near the Havre Amtrak station to commemorate the key contributions his railroad has made to Havre's and Montana's history.

Originally named Bullhook Bottoms, the town met in a series of meetings to determine a new name. The original settlers were given the final decision, and due to a strong French influence, the town was renamed Havre.[3]

Simon Pepin (1840-1914), the "Father of Havre," was a typical Montana entrepreneur. Born in Quebec, Canada, he emigrated to Montana in 1863, and became a contractor furnishing supplies for the construction of forts Custer, Assiniboine, and Maginnis. Pepin purchased ranch lands near Fort Assiniboine. When James J. Hill built the Great Northern Railway across northern Montana, Pepin convinced him to build his locomotive shops at Havre, on property owned by Pepin. In the ensuing years, Pepin was a major contributor to Havre's economic growth through his cattle, real estate, and banking enterprises[4].

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