Lima, Montana: Old Buildings & Tesla Chargers


It’s a jarring juxtaposition of old and new: a remote town in southwestern Montana, with just a handful of businesses and vacant storefronts, also has eight – count them, EIGHT – Tesla Superchargers.  It’s enough to make you ponder the future, as you wander around the past.


You’ll find Lima, Montana at exit 15 off Interstate 15.  The historic downtown district is lined up along the railroad tracks, a few blocks east of the interstate.

My Visit

Those electric fuel pumps were the first thing I saw, as I pulled off Interstate 15 into Lima.  I was headed towards the town’s rest area/welcome center, but the superchargers occupy some real estate that’s even nearer to the highway.  I suppose it makes sense to have charging stations in the middle of nowhere – you can’t drive your electric car for thousands of miles without them.  But still, eight?  Will we really ever see the day when the roads will be so crowded with Teslas that they’ll be stacked up here, eight deep, getting topped off for the drive on to Butte or Idaho Falls?  I suppose it’s possible.

After marveling over the gleam of technology at the edge of the freeway, I made my way over to the rest area, then explored the rest of the town of Lima, Montana.

Of course, there are railroad tracks. They don’t really divide the town – Lima isn’t big enough to be split in half.  Instead…

… the town’s business district is all on one side, facing the tracks.

It doesn’t look like Merrell’s store has been in business for a while.  But, there are some functioning businesses left in Lima.  The Peat Hotel and Bar is apparently famous for allowing people to cook their own steaks.  You’ll find plenty of reviews online that suggest people love the idea.

I probably would have enjoyed a steak, but I needed to get to Butte by sunset, and that meant I couldn’t spend any more time in Lima.  So, I got back on the interstate, burning gasoline like some kind of cave man.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s a look at the drive from the Idaho state line to Butte, Montana on Interstate 15:

The Bottom Line

Since there’s a rest area here, you’ll probably need to make a stop in Lima.  You should spend a few more minutes checking out the one-sided downtown.  And if you have even more time to spare, and an appetite, go cook your own steak.

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