Capt. Clark’s signature restored on possibly four occasions

ED KEMMICK for the Gazette

Editor’s note: This story from former Gazette reporter Ed Kemmick was first published in 2006. Questions raised in the article are still being debated.

Beneath the signature of William Clark etched into the sandstone at Pompeys Pillar National Monument, an interpretive sign explains the significance of the artifact.

It reads: “The ground on which Clark stood has weathered away but his signature has not. Because of this remaining physical evidence, the site is one of the few places along the entire Lewis and Clark Trail where you can be assured of standing in the footsteps of William Clark and other members of the Expedition.”

No one is likely to challenge the second part of that statement, since Clark wrote in his journal on July 25, 1806, that he carved his name and date on the “remarkable rock.”

People are also reading…

The first sentence, however, is not entirely true. Capt. Clark’s signature is clear and easily legible now, but only because it has been restored and deepened — or possibly re-created — on at least two occasions, and possibly three or four.

‘Nearly obliterated’

The signature hasn’t always been so legible.

View Source