History & Culture
Our History & Culture section is laid out in table format in order to present the large amount of content we have available in a more organized manner. Any questions, comments and/or corrections are welcome and greatly appreciated and will be responded to in a timely manner. Also, if you have information related to the scope-of-history covered by the Fort Smith National Historic Site, please feel free to submit it for review and possible addition to the site (credit is given where credit is due!)
The history of the Fort Smith area abounds with tales of heroism, battles, and social justice. Walk where soldiers drilled, reflect along the Trail of Tears overlook, and stand where justice was served and carried out. There are many individuals who made history at Fort Smith, and their actions and attitudes can serve both as inspiration and lessons learned. The Fort Smith National Historic Site includes the remains of two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. Judge Isaac C. Parker, known as the "hangin' judge," presided over the court for 21 years.
Did You Know?
The conditions at the federal jail at Fort Smith were so horrible that it received the nickname "Hell on the Border." Up to 50 men were crowded into one large cell with limited ventilation and poor sanitary conditions.