Pompeys Pillar National Monument

Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a memorial of the type of National Monuments in the south of the U.S. state of Montana. The small sanctuary includes a striking sandstone cliffs on the south bank of the Yellowstone River, which represents an important milestone for all travelers on and around the river. It was described by William Clark as the first white man who passed in 1806 on the return trip of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the rock. He named the rock after Pompey, the nickname of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, then only one year-old child in the tour group of the expedition.

The area has been designated in his last days in office, U.S. President Bill Clinton in early 2001 and reports to the Bureau of Land Management, an agency under the auspices of the U.S. Department of the Interior.


The approximately 30 m above the Yellowstone River towering boulder is a shed about 65 to 75 million year old sandstone. It originated from sediments, the rivers have deposited as alluvial fans of the Rocky Mountains in a huge inland sea.

He is now free on the banks of the Yellowstone River, whose course is lined with poplars. The valley is dominated by agriculture, biodiversity of wild animals has declined sharply since the time of William Clark. Nevertheless, the river has a great importance as a migration route for birds, especially waders, ducks and geese. The area also live white-tailed deer and mule deer, raccoon, gray fox, bobcat and coyote.

The rock since the first settlement in the region is thought to be around 11,000 years ago as the path marker. In the language of the Crow Indians he called Iishbiiammaache, which means " place of the mountain lion ." Mountain lions or cougars are now very rare in the area. Due to its prominent location on the river the rock to other peoples of the region has a special meaning. In their languages ​​name him the Cheyenne, Lakota, Shoshone, Arapaho, Blackfeet and Salish. Petroglyphs in the stone show that various visitors have used the site as a resting place.

The region was part of the Louisiana Territory, which bought the fledgling United States in 1803 by France. 1804-06 explored the Lewis and Clark expedition commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson the new areas. When William Clark in 1806 separated from his partner Meriwether Lewis, to collect on the way back from the Lewis and Clark Expedition, a larger area can, he explored the first white man to the Yellowstone River. On 25 July 1806 he left his name on Pompey's Pillar. The valley of the Yellowstone River was subsequently part of the reserve of the Crow Indians.

The signature and the rock were marketed as a tourist attraction. Initially, only for passengers of the steamers on the river, from 1882 was also the railway line of the Northern Pacific Railroad along the Yellowstone River and the railway company set up its own breakpoint Pompeys Pillar. Beginning of the 20th century, the Crow Indians were forced to reduce their reserve, but their families had the first access to land in the valley after the Homestead Act and so kept a small part of the country.

1955, the family bought Foote the rocks and the nearby fields, and made him again accessible to tourists. In 1989, the business was no longer profitable, the area was purchased by the Bureau of Land Management, built a temporary visitor center and be renewed in the following years, the stairs on the rocks.

In his final days in office, and without consultation with the Congress or the state of Montana President Bill Clinton evaluated in January 2001 on the territory of the smallest National Monument in the United States. For the 2006 summer season opened the new visitor center, which represents the history of the Native Americans, the white settlers as well as nature and culture of the region.