Pompy's Tower Over Time

View From the River, about 1900

barren pillar of rock surrounded by bare ground and low bushes

Montana Historical Society No. 950-257

Photo by Herman Schnitzmeyer, photographer for the Northern Pacific Railroad (no date; about 1900).

View toward Billings, 1910

An old photo of the Yellowstone river showing small and scattered cottonwood trees

Montana Historical Society No. 981-343

From Pompey's Pillar by L. A. Huffman, April, 1910.

Aerial View toward Billings, 1998

View of Pompey's Pillar showing stands of dense and tall cottonwood trees

© 1998 by Larry Mayer

Compare the two early views above with the following aerial photo taken in 1998. Notice the density of the cottonwood stand all along the south bank of the Yellowstone. After centuries of grazing and trampling on the tender cottontood seedlings around this well-used ford by deer, elk, and bison, plus the traffic of Indians and their horses for about 150 years, several generations of cottonwoods have reclaimed the land.