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Pompey’s Pillar Defaced By a Musician Named Cole in the Name of Love

Cole Randall, a member of the Minnesotan band Flora Cash, demonstrated his romantic side by carving an elementary school styled confession of love into one of the only locations with physical evidence of Lewis and Clark’s expedition, Pompey’s Pillar. 

Randall was caught on camera trespassing onto the site that was visited by Lewis and Clark in 1806. After discovering the trespassing, investigators found the words “Cole + Shpresa 10/10/2013″ carved only a few feet away from William Clark’s signature from 1806. The estimated cost to repair the monument is $5,000 and Randall wants to take full responsibility for his actions

See the signature here

Here is Cole Randall’s heartfelt apology in which he explains his mistake and that it was made in a time of desperation.

To everyone affected by my signing the sandstone near the great William Clark’s signature,


First, I humbly apologize. It was never my intention to harm the archaeological site, which contains Clark’s signature. It was also not my intention to proclaim that I am somehow in the same “league” as that great explorer. The fact is: there is no excuse for my etching our names onto that rock… but I owe you an explanation and with that: a context in which my actions can be better understood.


My new wife and I had just finished our honeymoon, which consisted of a road trip to California. Sadly, our honeymoon was cut short when my wife discovered a suspicious lump on her breast. Because she had no insurance at the time, we were forced to make the trip back to Minnesota before we could even attempt to work out a screening. During the entire trip home, I was scared… Terrified, actually. Worst-case scenarios raced through my mind.


Eventually, we happened across the historical site known as Pompey’s Pillar. I read the sign that explained why this place was significant and was utterly inspired by the last part of the description, which read, “for generations, Americans passing by this place have left their marks upon the rocks.” Despite my better judgment, I was taken with the idea that by putting our names on that stone, we would be adding to a tradition started by the Native Americans, renewed by William Clark and carried forward by the average folk who have passed by and “left their marks” for over 200 years. On top of that, I was motivated by the fact that maybe if something were to happen to my wife, I could come back to this place years from now and see her and my names together. Stupid? Yeah. Misguided? Definitely. But when love and fear of loss team up: we sometimes lose our better judgment, no matter the consequences.


The fact is: regardless of what happens, our names will be removed from that stone. And I will be prepared to face the consequences of my actions. My wife advised me not to etch our names, but I insisted… foolishly. I regret my decision and once again, I humbly apologize to the people of Montana and to every American who was affected by my foolishness. My promise to you is that I have learned a valuable lesson throughout this ordeal and will never repeat such an action in the future. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for this and realize that I understand the gravity of my mistake.


Kindest regards and best wishes,

Cole Randall


Do you sympathize with Cole Randall and his actions?

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