The Great Northern Railway transported people and goods to, and through, northern Montana in the late 1880s and early 1900s. By the mid-1920s, however, automobile travel eclipsed rail travel. Soon, modern roads and new roadside service stations, motels, and cafes catered to auto travelers. The Northwest Refining Company of Cut Bank built this outstanding Streamlined Moderne style gas station in 1939. Texaco industrial designer Walter Dorwin Teague adapted the style for gas stations in 1936, and oil companies nationwide followed suit. Teague specified white porcelain-enamel tile siding, but white brick or concrete block were common substitutes. Colorful horizontal “speed lines” at the roofline, large glass display windows, and enclosed service bays are other stylistic hallmarks. These design ideals were all aimed at making service stations appear as clean and modern as a new hospital and inviting to any type of driver. Danfield “Dan” Heltne leased the station from the outset in 1939. He initially sold Grizzly Oil Company products, and then, through different owners, sold Oval E, Carter, Humble, and Enco products through the 1960s. He purchased the station in 1974. Always a cheerleader in the community, Heltne spent years directing the May Music Festival, Kiwanis Club, the Salvation Army Board, and the Havre Chamber of Commerce Board. Dan passed away in 1990 and his son continued the business. Over the years, Heltne’s became a Havre institution and a Hi-Line landmark. When it closed in 2006, it was the longest continuously operated service station in the area.

Images

Map

140 1st Street, Havre, Montana ~ Public