Living in the Promised Land

The long, sweeping curve into Ingomar, MT highlights the Milwaukee Road's entrance into this small town out on the Montana plains.  The photo above looks east, back toward the places and spaces already traveled, and to those beyond the start of abandonment at Terry.  Ingomar itself is one of the few survivors that exists out along an old US highway and this abandoned transcon.  The streets are gravel and the shops few but nonetheless, Ingomar holds on.
Ingomar was one of the towns plotted by the railroad as it headed west in 1908.  As with many of the other small towns plotted by the Milwaukee Road, it was to serve as a hub for the local settlers and an access point to the railroad's growing empire that stretched to the east and west.  Looking south along the main street, the US flag still flies high on this hot summer day in 2003.  It marks the Jersey Lilly - one of the local watering holes left over from a time of grander intents.
The station still stands at Ingomar as a converted residence and is still lined closely to the old mainline that strikes through the north side of town.  Also left behind is an old Milwaukee tender, likely from an S2 Northern steam locomotive.  The classy white stripping and outline of the tilted emblem are clearly visible as the relic sits in the weeds just off the main.  The story goes that water was supplied to the town by the Milwaukee Road when potable water could not be found [1].  Although no longer in use today, it stands as an unexpected and haunting reminder of the steel machines that used to traverse these promised lands. 


oamundsen said…
Leland, those are great photos! Evoke amazing "what was and might have been" thoughts which are more pleasant than present fact. Again, thanks.
SDP45 said…
Having just rode my bike along the stretch between Kittitas and Beverly, about 20 miles, it reminded me a lot of the prose of your site: here is a long gone stretch of the Milwaukee Road in a very desolate area. In my case, its part of the US Army Yakima Firing Range. There is nothing there anymore except a few roads that hardly anyone travels, much less knows about. Two ridges over to the north is Interstate 90, which is heavily traveled. How many of those folks know about Boylston, Rye, Cheviot, Cohasett,and Doris?

Anonymous said…
What happened to the Milwaukee Road was criminal. The best engineered line to the pacific north west that was hauling plenty of traffic in the 1970s only to be abandoned. A law student could have predicted that the Milwaukee would never be merged into UP or BN. That management pursued those phantoms while running the property into the ground is a disgrace.

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