Fort Smith is the second largest city in the US state of Arkansas and one of the most important places in Sebastian County. The city itself has a population of around 100,000, but the entire metropolitan area with the surrounding towns and counties of Crawford, Franklin and Sebastian has a population of around 300,000.
Fort Smith is a sister city of the Italian city of Cisterna. During the battle for this city during World War II, soldiers of the United States Army, commanded by a native of Fort Smith – William O. Darby – fought here. Fort Smith is located on the border of Arkansas and Oklahoma, at the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, in a place known as Belle Point. In the past, it played an important role in the settlement of the Wild West. The history of this place was greatly influenced by both soldiers and civilians, as well as the original Indian inhabitants of the country. This place was one of the stops on a challenging road called the Trail of Tears, after which the original Indian population was taken into exile.
According to existingcountries, Fort Smith was founded in 1817 as a military settlement with a fort that was to oversee relations between the Osage and Cherokee Indians. The army left the settlement in 1824 and moved to Fort Gibson, closer to the center of the Osage tribe. Land in Fort Smith was bought from the military by land speculator John Rogers and further supported the growth of the civilian city in this area. Fort Smith was named after General Thomas Adams Smith, who lived from 1781 to 1844. In 1817, he commanded the infantry regiment of the United States Army. However, the general himself never visited the city. After the army left Fort Smith, the construction of the fort gradually began to decay until it disappeared completely. In 1963, however, extensive archaeological excavations were carried out in these places, which revealed the foundations of this building. The construction of the second fortress began in 1838.
Fort Smith used to be a federal court, which then employed a large number of people, such as guards, guards, lawyers, judges and marshals. Judge Isaac C. Parker presided over the court for 21 years, sentencing 160 people to death. He had extensive powers and could even administer Native American territories. Between 1873 and 1896, eighty-six men were executed at the Fort Smith gallows. For some, however, it already meant liberation because the conditions in the federal prison were so dire that the place was nicknamed “Hell on the Border.” Sometimes up to 50 people were crammed into one room, where they could not be properly ventilated and the hygienic conditions were also absolutely catastrophic.
As the largest city in West Arkansas, Fort Smith offers many activities and attractions. One of the biggest attractions is the Fort Smith Military Fortress, the barracks and the prison building. These buildings were used in the years 1817 – 1871. In the summer of 2000, the whole area with all the historic buildings underwent a complete reconstruction and was declared a National Historical Monument, which attracts many tourists every year. Today, visitors can view them undisturbed.
Today, Fort Smith allows visitors a glimpse into daily life at a historic fort on the border of Arkansas and Native American territory. To this day, you can see the original furniture, valuable collections, materials, historical photos or weapons collections. Around Fort Smith is a city park where you can enjoy relaxing moments, observe the beautiful surrounding countryside, and if you are lucky, you will see one of the local wildlife.