Places We Lived‎ > ‎

Lima, Montana

On 10 February 1898, the Logan Herald reported that Thomas McKenna was "down from Lima Montana, visiting his friends and relatives here."

This wasn't the only time he lived in Montana.  On 12 September 1895, the Rock Springs Wyoming newspaper reported that "Major Rogan returned from Butte, Montana this week.  He was working with Jim Keenan, but there was too much smoke in that city for him.  Among the Rock Springs people there he names John Bowen, Bill Robinson, old Tommy Evans, wife and young Tommy, Jimmy Robinson, John Sloan, Louis Hopkins, Joe Bonesteele, Magnus Anderson, Charlie Sloan, John Keenan, Jim Keenan, James Spiers, Henry Forsyth, Thomas McKenna and Ollie Sweeten."

Living in Montana was not an easy life.  One of his wife Rebecca's relative's history records: "During his (Brigham Andrus Hendrick's) young manhood days he worked with his father in railroading. He spent most of his time in construction work in the state of Montana. There he came in contact with unprincipled and undesirable men, and many times he was called upon to defend himself, his family, and church."  Thomas likely faces similar difficulties.

Lima Montana
Lima is located just North of the Idaho border in Montana.   It is adjacent to I-15 and is about 30 miles South of Dillon.  It was founded in 1880 as bustling Union Pacific Railroad Service Center with a 14 bay roundhouse plus turntable, the population peaked at 2,000 citizens. By 1900, the railroad established its tracks northward and left Lima with a population of 400. As the railroad business subsided, the roundhouse and turntable were dismantled and the depot was burned in 1960. Today, the population is less than 300 but trains continue to whistle through weekly.

The historic buildings remain in arrested decay, occupied as homes and businesses. The town first named Alderdice for a previous settlement to the NW, then named SpringhIll for its mountain water, and finally named Lima, after a entrepreneur and landowner from Lima, Wisconsin.

Lima was the ideal location for the Union Pacific Railroad service center because it has an excellent supply of water to supply the steam engines that powered the locomotives in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  It is also near the continental divide and was an ideal location to add or subtract locomotives as they switched from going up hill to going down hill and vie versa.

The Bailey Building
One of the oldest remaining buildings in Lima is an historic two-story 1880 building located at 117 Main Street in Lima, Montana.  Today it houses the Lima Historical Society.
The building is rustic, standing straight and strong,  it is referred to as the Bailey Building or the "Lima Skyscraper".  The building was built and occupied by E.A. Bailey and Sons as a mercantile, serving the Town of Lima and and Union Pacific Railroad. 
The Bailey building looks very similar to the house that Thomas McKenna built in Hibbard, Idaho in the early 1900s.