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Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas
Fort Smith National Historic Site
National Park Service, Department of the Interior

301 Parker Avenue, Fort Smith Arkansas 72901
Headquarters Phone:  479-783-3961     FAX:  479-783-5307
Ozark Merchants Fort Smith Historic Site Photo Gallery
First Fort Smith , established in 1817
Site Museum, Judge Isaac Parker's Courtroom and Gallows, First Fort remnants & More
Fort Smith National Historic Site, National Park Service
'Little Gilbraltar on the Arkansas River'
Established the 1825 Boundary between Arkansas Territory and the Choctaw Nation
Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas
FORT SMITH NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE MAP
Map from Park Brochure
   Fort Smith National Historic Site embraces the remains of two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Commemorating a significant phase of America's westward expansion, it stands today a reminder of 80 turbulent years in the history of Federal Indian policy.
    Fort Smith National Historic Site, part of the National Park Service, is located at the corner of Rogers Avenue and Third Street in downtown Fort Smith. It can be reached from Garrison Avenue. The parking lot is at Third Street and Garland Avenue. The visitor center is in the Barracks-Courthouse-Jail building and is open daily, except December 25 and New Year's Day. Group tours are available if advance arrangements are made with the Superintendent, whose address is Box 1406, Fort Smith, AR 72902; call 479-783-3961.

Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith National Historic Site, Second Fort Smith
    The first Fort Smith was a small log and stone stockade situated on a rocky bluff overlooking the junction of the Poteau and Arkansas Rivers. It was established by Major William Bradford and a company of the U.S. Rifle Regiment in December 1817 to maintain peace between local Osage Indians, emigrating Cherokees (many of whom had been pressured and pushed westward from their ancestral lands in the southeastern United States), and non-Indian settlers moving west. The 1822 Treaty of Fort Smith, negotiated by Col. Matthew Arbuckle, then the fort's commanding officer, and Indian Commissioner James Miller, reconciled most of the difficulties between the Osage and the Cherokee and continued to guarantee the tribes that no non-Indians would settle on their lands.

    The small stockaded fort established here in 1817 was only 40 meters (132 feet) on each side, with blockhouses at alternative corners, 'together with a hospital for the sick, a Storehouse for the public, a Provision house ...' and 'a hut' for the commanding officer. It was a lonely and isolated station. The garrison, always too small for its peace-keeping task, never numbered more than 130 men. After the army abandoned the fort in 1824, it continued to be used intermittently by transient troops. It was never maintained, however, and soon lay in ruins. Its exact location remained unknown until 1963, when archeologists uncovered the foundations visible today.

    The second fort was established when Arkansas settlers feared trouble after President Andrew Jackson's 'Indian Removal' brought thousands of Indians into the region. This fort consisted of two officers' quarters, a barracks, and commissary and quartermaster storehouses, all enclosed by a stone wall. The wall has long-since disappeared, along with most of the buildings, but the enlisted men's barracks and the stone commissary storehouse are still standing.
Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas Judge Parker's Gallows - Fort Smith National Historic Site, Fort Smith Arkansas
Fort Smith National Historic Site
Stockade Reconstruction, portion of old wall in foreground.
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