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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

Places at the First Fort Smith (1817-1824)

Belle Point (Beautiful Place)

The area overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers had been named Belle Point by French fur trappers who traveled along the rivers in the 18th century. When the U.S. Army decided to establish a fort near the Osage boundary at the Arkansas River, Belle Point was the site chosen by Major Stephen H. Long of the Topographical Engineers. Long led the expedition in which he chose the location of, designed, and named the first Fort Smith in 1817. He was accompanied by Major William Bradford and the U.S. Rifle Regiment whom he left at the site of the future Fort Smith in order to begin construction.

 
Aerial view of the remains of the First Fort Smith at Belle Point
Aerial photograph of the first Fort Smith.
 
The foundation of the First Fort Smith visible in a fresh layer of rare snow.
A rare snowy morning overlooking the foundational remains of the first Fort Smith.  The Fort Smith/Arkansas River Valley area only receives an average of 2.35" of snow accumulation per year.
FOSM

Did You Know?

Children and families helping to raise the garrison flag on Flag Day 2006

The garrison flag flown on the old military parade ground of Fort Smith National Historic Site bears 37 stars and is 20 x 30'. On special occasions visitors assist in raising the huge flag.