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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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    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 »

Welfare Era Postcards

Fort Smith Federated Welfare Association painted on former courthouse building during Welfare Era
Fort Smith Federated Welfare Association

In the 1920s the federal government turned the former jail/courthouse building over to the City of Fort Smith. They removed the jail cells and converted the space into offices. A wrought iron fence was placed around the building. During the Depression, the Welfare Office, Red Cross, Boys' Club, and other social services were housed here.

Painted on the northwest side of the building is "Fort Smith Federated Welfare Association." Off on the right-hand side, in front of the former jail building, is a slide.

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swing set on lawn in front of former courthouse with Memorial Gateway in foreground
Welfare Association Building
Memorial Gateway

This photo postcard, taken by McCann Photo Company of Fort Smith, shows the Fort Smith Federated Welfare Association building from the west side. Note the people swinging on the swing set on the front lawn.

The postcard leads one to believe that the gate in the foreground is part of the original fort. The Memorial Gateway was in fact built by the Daughters of the American Revolution to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Arkansas's statehood in 1936. It was supposedly modeled after the original fort wall and gate using historic materials.

Until 2000 the original site of the fort's northeast gate sat in the middle of Rogers Avenue and Third Street. This memorial gate was built closer to the buildings, near the corner of the streets.

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To view additional postcards of Fort Smith, click on the small images on the right.

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Did You Know?

deputy marshals pose with their rifles for a formal portrait

Fort Smith National Historic Site has records of over 1,770 people employed by the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas from 1872-1896. The majority of these employees were U.S. Deputy Marshals.