• 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?

Park staff and volunteers demonstrating using lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the cannon's primer

The soldiers who came to Fort Smith in 1817 were still using some 18th century technology and drill. The cannon was discharged using a lindstock and slowmatch to ignite the primer, which originally was loose powder or a turkey quill filled with powder.