Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site


Billings, MT

Michael Sanderson, PE, PTOE, LEED AP

Yellowstone Kelly


Luther Sage “Yellowstone” Kelly, a Civil War veteran and Montana scout was notable character in the early history of Billings, Montana. Foregoing a military burial at Arlington National Cemetery, Kelly was buried above the City of Billings at Swords Rimrock Park, on top of the Rimrocks he so adored. In recent years, his gravesite has been neglected. This project creates a place of respect and honor for Yellowstone Kelly and links with the beautiful park, trails, and views in the surrounding Swords Rimrock Park.




Sanderson Stewart along with the Yellowstone Kelly Steering Committee, throughout the design process, concluded three major aspects of Kelly’s life: Warrior, Veteran and Scout. To honor his contributions in each area, 3 interpretive nodes were incorporated into the design by Sanderson Stewart’s Placemaking Studio. These nodes serve as outdoor ‘rooms’ situated between berms that define the space. Rock walls, like the surrounding topography, will define the perimeter of each node. The entrance features metal wind pipes, which will “sing” as the breeze from atop the Rimrocks passes through them, creating a unique soundscape for visitors to enjoy.

The Sanderson Stewart Placemaking Studio performed the site design, as well as created the bidding documents for the project. The Branding Group provided all logo, branding, and website creation services, as well as designs for the wayfinding and interpretive nodes, marketing materials and even a coloring book for visitors to enjoy.

“The reason the Yellowstone Kelly Interpretive Site is so important is because, not only will it restore a legacy, it will also establish a major attraction for this community, which, I believe, will invoke more positive change and spawn greater interest to this great place we call home.”

Harvey Singh

Owner, Singh Construction, quoted in the Billings Gazette