Greening Bank

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Greening Bank

Ingomar ,Central Montana

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Location: Ingomar

Completion of the ‘’Milwaukee Road” brought hundreds of homesteaders to Ingomar during the 1910s. By 1914, wood-frame homes and a small commercial district proclaimed the town a permanent settlement. On July 2, 1914, the Ingomar Index announced that a bank would soon open, marking an important milestone in the community’s development. Investors H.B. Wiley, C.M. Greening, and E.B. Clark hired bookkeeper W.T. Craig. All, declared the Index, were businessmen of sterling reputations. When the new building was completed that October, the newspaper declared it a “pippin, “ noting that “cashier Craig feels like a kid with a new toy.” It was Ingomar’s first brick building. The bank indeed prospered, reorganizing and expanding in 1917 as a state bank, and reorganizing again in 1921 under the federal charter. Economic reversal led to the bank’s sudden closure later that year. Craig was convicted of misuse of bank funds, a ruling that was later overturned on appeal. The bank stood empty, a painful reminder of delinquent loans and failed homesteads. In 1933, the Oasis Bar opened in the building and the Jersey Lilly Bar and Cafe moved here in 1948. The former bank has since served as a community gathering place with a devoted clientele. Original pressed tin ceilings, bank vaults and the outline of teller cages on unfinished hardwood flooring suggest the building’s previous function. Its dignified outward appearance reflects the time when Ingomar was the commercial and social center of a vital agricultural community.

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