Pompeys Pillar

August 18, 2023

Two things have had a major bearing on the direction of our travels this summer. One was seeing our first great grandchild, the second to follow Lewis and Clark’s return trip from the Pacific coast to St. Louis in 1806. Today we visited another significant Lewis and Clark site.

It wasn’t just just men that were involved in the multi-year trek up the Missouri River and down the Columbia River to the Pacific coast and back again. Pompeys Pillar is named after the youngest person that traversed a portion of the trip by what is known as the Corps of Discovery.

Circled is what is known as the Louisiana Purchase. Land that was purchased from France by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 and which greatly increased the land area of the young Untied States.

Mannequins in the visitor center of Capt. Clark (right) and his slave York who Clark took along on the trip.

The “pillar” is a rock outcropping above the Yellowstone River east of Billings, Montana.

The reason for the stairs. Capt. Clark craved his name and the date when climbed up on the rock. He named it Pompeys Tower, but a later historian changed it to Pompeys Pillar as it sounded better.

View from the top. I wonder what Capt. Clark saw that day from up here. History isn’t just words in a book, it is far, far more.


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