J.A. Bookman General Store

J. Abraham “Abe” Bookman came from Ireland with his wife, Anna, and brother-in-law, Simon Sigman. By 1912, they had settled in Ingomar, where Bookman operated the town mercantile and Sigman served as postmaster. The business was so prosperous that once, when Bookman was at the depot to receive a shipment of groceries and clothing, settlers waiting for the next train bought every single item before it could be carried to the store. In 1914, Bookman’s success allowed him to finance Sigman’s opening of a general store in nearby Vananda. Although Rosebud County’s economy was obviously in trouble by 1921 and many homesteaders had moved on, Ingomar’s commercial area remained relatively stable. When fire devastated the small district that year, this prominent brick building with its lively diamond pattern of polychromatic brick was built to replace Bookman’s original store. Now connected to its neighbor through an interior doorway, the well-preserved vintage building is a classic example of the commercial structures once common in small prairie settlements. The intact survival of its two-bay storefront is particularly noteworthy. Although most Ingomar businesses closed during the 1920s and 1930s, the Bookmans struggled through hard times and loss of their property at sheriff’s sale in 1933. They repurchased the store in 1935, and Abe hung on to the business until his death in 1941. Anna retired two years later, closing the store for good. Its closure marked the true end of Ingomar’s pioneer era.

Images

Map

Main Street, Ingomar, Montana ~ Private