HAVRE — Beneath the streets of Havre is a cavernous representation of what the city looked like in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
A one-hour Beneath The Streets guided tour takes you through a series of rooms, each representing a different local business that your guide will tell you about.
But the tours had to be put on hold recently when heavy rain flooded much of the space.
"All but one display was affected. Some of it had a lot of water, some of it had a little bit," said Christy Owens, Havre Beneath The Streets office manager.
Thankfully, most of what was touched by the water is able to be saved and the popular tourist attraction is back open.
Flooding also happened in 2020 but this time it was much worse.
"Essentially, we got hit three times in four days," said Owens. "I've been here for over 25 years and you begin to have a personal stake in something like this and it was just, personally, devastating to see."
On the street up above, other businesses were also hit hard by the flooding.
Norman's Ranchwear was one of them. An employee showed pictures of water in the business.
As of June 19, in the basement the floor was still covered with signs of the flooding, including piles of dried mud.
"Never before had we had that much water," Norman's Ranchwear Owner Kaye Young said.
Young estimated the flooding caused over $100,000 worth of damage.
"Of course, the insurance only covers a minimal amount because they say it's sewer backup," said Young.
The city's public works director, Trevor Mork, said the rain was a once-in-500-year event that overwhelmed the city's storm water system, causing water to flow into the sanitary sewer system.
Additionally, many businesses downtown were built when common practice was to have storm water dump into the sanitary sewer system and businesses, he said, have been advised to change that.
"I cannot go in there as the director of public works and change it because that is theirs," Mork explained.
He also pointed out each time a mill levy has been proposed to generate money to improve the city's water and sewer systems the levies have been voted down.
There is not yet an exact date for when all of the work to fully recover the Beneath The Streets tours from the flooding would be done.
If you'd like to help, you can make a donation by mailing a check to the business at 120 Second Avenue, Havre, 59501, by stopping by the business, visiting the website, or by calling 406-265-8888.
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