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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

Federal Court Era Places (1872-1896)

interior of courtoom as it looks today with Judge's bench in center of wall

Restored Courtroom of Judge Isaac C. Parker

Memories by Jody

Today visitors come to Fort Smith to see the federal courthouse used by Judge Isaac C. Parker from 1875-1889. However, the building was originally the military barracks and not ideally suited for a courthouse. The courtroom was small and not lavishly furnished. The former mess halls in the basement were converted into two large jail cells, nicknamed "Hell on the Border."

 
 

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.