Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith is located in northwest Arkansas and is the second largest city in the U.S. State of Arkansas. Forbes magazine recently named Fort Smith as the number one city in the USA for cost of living. In 2007, Fort Smith was selected to be the location of the new United States Marshals Service National Museum. Fort Smith is the 6th most hit city by tornados in the USA.

To See And To Do In Fort Smith

  • Fort Smith Museum of History
  • The Fort Smith Jazz Festival
  • Fort Smith National Historic Site
  • Miss Laura's Social Club and Visitor Center
  • Belle Grove Historic District
  • Central Mall
  • Arkansas Wine Country

History Of Fort Smith - Timeline

In 1682, the French explorer Robert Cavelier de La Salle claimed the area for France. In 1817, Fort Smith was founded as a military post to promote peace between warring Indian tribes of the Osage and Cherokee. The name comes from General Thomas Adams Smith. But he never visited the town. The strategic location of Fort Smith, on intersecting rivers and roads, made it both a valuable staging area as a Union outpost and a continuing target for the Confederate faithful holed up in the surrounding mountains and in Indian Territory. In 1822, the first steamboat arrived at Fort Smith.

In 1824, the fort was abandoned but by that time a town was formed alongside the fort. In 1828, the first post office opened. In 1838, the fort opened again. In 1842, the town was incorporated. In 1847, the newspaper, the Fort Smith Herald, was published.

In 1863, Union forces occupied Fort Smith. In 1864, 1,500 people left Fort Smith to escape the war. In 1884, the newspaper, the Southwest Times Record, was founded as the evening Fort Smith Times.

For 21 years, 1875 to 1896, Isaac Charles Parker served as a U.S. District Judge. Judge Isaac Parker was unique. He sentenced 160 people to death, earning him the distinction of the Ft. Smith Hanging Judge. In 1914, the City National Bank opened.

In 1928, the Fort Smith Junior College was established. In 1930, the radio station, KFPW, was broadcasting from Fort Smith. In 1938, a new fort was constructed and the town got its official name, Fort Smith. In 1953, the television station, KFSA channel 22, started. In 1961, John F. Kennedy visited the city. In 1971, Central Mall opened.