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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

Gallows

aerial photo of gallows reconstruction with 6 nooses hanging from cross bean

The gallows at Fort Smith served as an instrument of federal justice for twenty-three years, from 1873-1896. During those years 86 men were executed for capital offenses on the gallows.

While the gallows that stands today is a reconstruction, visitors are still drawn to the place where these executions were conducted. Perhaps no other place in Fort Smith illicits such interest and strong feelings.

To learn more about the history of the gallows as well as the myths and legends that have surrounded them, click on the links below.

Location of the Gallows

1873 Gallows

1886 Gallows

The Gallows: 1897-1957

The Gallows Today

Frequently Asked Questions about the Gallows

Did You Know?

Portrait of Anna Dawes

A woman was responsible for the building of a modern federal jail at Fort Smith, AR, in 1888. Anna Dawes, daughter of Sen. Dawes of MA, visited the "Hell on the Border" jail in 1885 and wrote an article describing its conditions. When read in Congress, money was quickly approved for a new jail.