In the late 19th century, when the Great Northern Railway laid down its line between Seattle and Minneapolis, a distance of more than 1,600 miles, the need for a midway station was felt. Consequently, the town of Havre was created in Montana to service the railroad and its passengers. Being located more or less midway down the Hi-Line, Havre became a popular stop for travelers, especially since it is only about 3 hours away from Glacier National Park. Almost overnight, Havre became the business and retail hub of the area.
In January 1904 a devastating fire wiped out a large part of Havre’s business area. Scarcity of building materials delayed rebuilding efforts and businesses grew impatient of waiting. Eventually, some of them decided to open shop in the steam tunnels that ran under the city, until the town could be rebuilt above ground. This underground area, now called "Havre Beneath the Streets", is sometimes referred to as one of the first shopping malls in America.
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