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

    Fort Smith

    National Historic Site AR,OK

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  • 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 »

Grounds Stop VII

Trail of Tears Overlook of the Arkansas River

NPS Photo

Trail of Tears Overlook
N 35° 23.265’
W 94° 25.997’

Under the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. government exchanged tribal lands in the east belonging to Choctaws, Cherokees, Chickasaws, Muscogee (Creeks), and Seminoles for land west of the Mississippi River. The subsequent treaties, many of them illegal, forced removal and horrendous Indian suffering. This removal process left a bitter legacy remembered today as the Trail of Tears. The primary reason for this removal was the insatiable desire of the U.S. citizens for Indian lands. During 1830-1842 each of the Five Tribes traveled various land and water routes to Indian Territory. Groups from each tribe traveled the Arkansas River, stopped at Fort Smith and received supplies before reaching their destinations.
Stop VII

Did You Know?

Interior of jail cell with box for prisoners to visit with their lawyers

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.