"A Lot of tour sites" Top 5 Page for this destination Fort Smith by BruceDunning

Fort Smith Travel Guide: 66 reviews and 243 photos

Fort Smith Grounds

This is the original layout of the fort complex, with some buildings still standing. It gives you the feel for the size of the fort area. It was the fort guarding the gateway to the west for over 50 years. Actually it is the second fort after being expanded form the first. Later another fort was built closer in toward the town for safety and away form river floods.
There is a museum on the grounds that is recommended. It depicts the tough life out in west territory and the role Ft. Smith played in keeping order to a wild west. It is good and you could spend 3-4 hours going through it.

Hanging Gallows

This is the original gallows used to hang people for breaking the law. Hanging was more prevalent back then, and many times, posses and marshals were sent out into the territory to bring back a wanted person.
Judge Isaac Parker lived in Ft. Smith for 40 years and got fame for no nonsense harsh penalties, but was a fair person. He tried over 13,000 cases and 79 people were hanged over 21 years on the bench. The territory west of Ft. Smith was Indian reservation, and a very wild and untamed west, even until 1900. There were 60 marshals killed trying to bring in wanted people to the west, but a number of the marshals were also of questionable ethics and repute.

Tillies Prostitute House

This is the house used to serve the troops and locals and territory wanders whom came into town. It was in operation for over 50 years, and rumor is politicians got paid off to keep open, besides their needing attending for their own services. It actually serves as the visitor center today, and is closest to the river on A Street. A historical society was created in 1977 to preserve some of the town old items and homes, as well as flesh out the museums for improved display

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A good take on the territory and rough times out west
  • Cons:Traffic for a smaller town can backup on highway
  • In a nutshell:WE enjoyed the unexpected history tied to the city
  • Last visit to Fort Smith: Apr 2009
  • Intro Updated Jul 14, 2009
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Reviews (19)

Comments (4)

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Aug 10, 2009 at 7:53 PM

    I so enjoy places like this. Love the historical mansions. They have so much charm. Food in places like this are always the best. Nice page Bruce!

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Jun 26, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    This is quite interesting, Bruce. I smiled about Miss Laura's. Clayton House, Art Center were both great to read about. Military cemetery, Museum of History, Forts Smith and Chaffee as well as Frisco Depot were historic and memorable. Thanks.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2009 at 2:19 PM

    Hi Buce = I enjoyed the history of Fort Smith which you entwinded around your travel tips!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2009 at 11:22 AM

    Hi, Bruce! You have visited so many nice places..... Good for you! <><>


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