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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • 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 »

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.

First Fort
Major Stephen Long
Balthazar Kramer
Major William Bradford
Belle Point
The Bad Tempered Buffalo Affair

Cultural Backgrounds
12,000 BCE - AD Present
Cultural Background Index
Paleoindian 12,000-10,000 BCE
Dalton 8,500-7,900 BCE
Archaic 8,000-500 BCE
Woodland 500 BCE - AD 1100
Mississippian AD 1100-AD 1541
Historic Occupation I
Historic Occupation II

Did You Know?

Parker seated at his bench in 6th Street courtroom

The only known image of Judge Parker in his courtroom is this one from the federal courthouse on Sixth Street which dates from the 1890s. There are no photographs of the courtroom located in the former military barracks.