• Rifle Regiment arriving at Belle Point, 1817. Artwork by Michael Haynes

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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  • Road Construction I-540

    Traveling West on I-40? To avoid construction delays, do not take Exit 7 (I-540 S). Stay on I-40 west and take Exit 1 Dora. Stay on Hwy 64D for 6 miles and follow signs to Fort Smith. After crossing over the river, turn right on 4th ST & right on Garland. More »

Judge Parker and the Federal Court 1872-1896

Program Description:

Fort Smith and surrounding residents all know about Judge Parker, but few of them actually know the real Isaac. C. Parker. This program goes a long way in dispelling the cruel myths behind the quiet man unfairly nicknamed "the Hanging Judge". The program also goes into some depth on the role of the Federal Court, its key players, and the importance of the US Deputy Marshals in helping to maintain law and order in Indian Territory. Students will get a lot of interesting information, facts, and stories that will give them a better understanding of Fort Smith's history.

Students will learn about:

  • Judge Isaac C. Parker, the quiet man behind the myth
  • Introduction to jurisdictions and law in Indian Territory
  • The role of the Deputy US Marshal

Length: 60 minutes*

*Note: When making the reservation please inform park staff of the length of the class period in which this program will be given. The program can be adjusted as needed.

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Did You Know?

foundation remains of first fort overlooking Arkansas River

The U.S. Army selected a spot overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers for the site of a fort. Soldiers from the Rifle Regiment arrived in 1817 and named the site Fort Smith after their commanding officer, Thomas A. Smith.