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Welcome to
The Jersey Lilly

and Ingomar, Montana
The Jersey Lilly is open from
7:00 a.m. – Midnight

Although dining reservations are not necessary, we would appreciate a call ahead of time if your group has more than four people. We want to ensure you have the best possible experience at The Jersey Lilly.

I found myself returning in thought to Ingomar, Montana this evening. I've already illustrated this extraordinary ghost town in an earlier post, but – perhaps because I was listening to a reading of I Am Legend on BBC Radio 7 tonight – I decided to Google the town to see what I could find.

I found this website. It dates from 2007 and that might explain the surreal disconnect between what is written and pictured there and what we found in July of this year. It's as much a ghost website as the town is a ghost town.

The sign on the Bunk n Biscuit looks fresh enough, but the building, the old schoolhouse, still looks semi-derelict. The Jersey Lilly itself was closed.

Not long closed, judging from the inside. There were liquor bottles behind the bar, coffee pots and knives hanging from the kitchen wall. Salt pots on the tables and little dust. But there was that sign – Bar is Closed until Further Notice – on the door. I felt someone should have posted website is closed until further notice but abandoned web pages tend to be as neglected as abandoned towns.

I noted, too, the artful way that the photographs on the web page downplayed the overwhelming sense of decay that infects a visitor to Ingomar. The slide-show there pictures the wistfully named Central Park, but fails to convey the background of rusting oil tanks and decomposing buildings present in all but the most carefully framed shots.
No paved roads in this town, just gravel streets – farm tracks really – and nothing beyond the perimeter of tumbledown buildings except the brown Montana plain.

In truth, I was amazed that The Jersey Lilly had managed to stay alive as long as it had. The dogged perseverance of the local ranchers, no doubt, was behind this. But evidently this is not quite enough in this depressed times to sustain the bar.

A shame. Perhaps when times improve, The Jersey Lilly will flower afresh and maybe I will be able to stop by and down a well-appreciated beer. (A few more photographs here.)