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Fort Smith - Fort Smith National Historic Site

301 Parker Avenue

Fort Smith National Historic Site embraces the remains of two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Through a recent multi-million dollar rehabilitation project the historic courthouse and jail building have been restored and now include a visitor’s center. You can visit the “Hell on the Border” jail, “Hangin’ Judge” Isaac C. Parker’s courtroom and see the gallows where justice came at the end of a rope. Numerous exhibits and videos also focus on U.S. Deputy Marshals and outlaws, Federal Indian policy, and the Trail of Tears. The center also contains a bookstore and auditorium.The history of the Fort Smith area abounds with tales of heroism, battles, and social justice. Walk where soldiers drilled, reflect along the Trail of Tears overlook, and stand where justice was served and carried out. There are many individuals who made history at Fort Smith, and their actions and attitudes can serve both as inspiration and lessons learned.


Steven Yackel

Sunday, May 13, 2018
I was very impressed in what I found at the Fort Smith National Historic Site. I did not know what to expect for a historic site so close to the local downtown. They have done a great job of telling the story of the fort that stood here and was an important part to the development of the Western Frontier. The cutaway exhibit of the jail is amazing, it is so well done it will blow your mind. I was also impressed with the historical depiction of the courtroom, you feel like they could be holding court later in the day. The exhibits were also very well done, with lots of information about the fort over time and the outlaws and lawmen that ended up here. In addition, the gift shop had some great books and a nice selection of souvenirs. Be sure that you do not miss walking out to the other building, the depiction of the quartermaster is very well done.

Julie Green

Monday, May 7, 2018
Beautifully preserved history. Grounds are well maintained and cared for with walkways throughout. The information was well presented both in script and artifacts. Rangers very pleasant and informed. We enjoyed our time and defiantly recommend stopping.

J Wilson

Saturday, May 5, 2018
Great location museum. The holding cells have a spooky atmosphere, the museum has some great interactive pieces, and the staff is wonderfully helpful. The grounds are great to walk around and it’s really neat to see the foundations of the original Fort Smith. The place is pretty great to see at night too.

shihyang lin

Wednesday, April 18, 2018
The parking is free and the park was also free. However, if you want to go into the museum it cost $7 per person. You can apply your annual national parks pass. This place is a must-see in Fort Smith. We learn a lot about the history of this place. Also, there is a small gift shop inside the museum. You can get some souvenirs here. One thing I have to mention is that the staff here was super friendly. They can answer every question you have. The lady in the court at 2nd floor tell a lot story about the old document.

Adam Wiener

Friday, April 20, 2018
Rich US historical site. Fort Smith served at many things through history including a trading post, military installation, hospital, and federal court. The main building is well maintained with excellent displays, and the grounds provide a lot of information if you choose to walk around and read a bit.

Fort Smith National Historic Site is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media