Life on the Edge of the Frontier

Explore life on the edge of frontier and Indian Territory through the stories of soldiers, the Trail of Tears, scandals, outlaws, and lawmen who pursued them.

From the establishment of the first Fort Smith on December 25, 1817, to the final days of Judge Isaac C. Parker's jurisdiction over Indian Territory in 1896, Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves almost 80 years of history.

Junior Ranger Badge with text reading Junior Ranger Fort Smith National Historic Site.

Become a Junior Ranger

Kids of all ages can earn Junior Ranger badges.

Aerial photo of Arkansas River, first fort foundation, commissary, visitor center, and gallows.

What's Happening at Fort Smith

Current conditions including what's open or closed and where to find Rangers.

A snow-covered Hawthorn bush partially obscures the red brick visitor center in the background.

America The Beautiful Passes

A pass covers entrance fees and day use fees at over 2,000 federal recreation sites.

White man with white hair, mustache, and long goatee wearing a dark three piece suit.

Judge Isaac C. Parker

Learn more about the man who said, "Permit no innocent man to be punished, but let no guilty man escape.'"

Bookshelves on both sides of a highbacked chair desk on left center of empty courtroom.

Federal Court 1872-1896

Sortable table of Deputy US Marshals and Federal Court Employees for the Western District of Arkansas 1872 -1896.

Gallows with two nooses

Executions at Fort Smith

From 1873 - 1896, eighty-six men were hanged for their crimes.

Supply wagon in front of grass parade ground, flagpole and red brick visitor center.

Exploring Fort Smith

There are many places to explore the past at Fort Smith - trails, jails, courtroom, and much more.

Park Ranger talking to student in the basement jail.


Looking for a way to enhance your classroom experience?

Union Civil War reenactors load a cannon.

Volunteers Wanted

We have opportunities for those wishing to volunteer their time and skills. Become a VIP - Volunteers in Parks

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

301 Parker Ave
Fort Smith, AR 72901


479 783-3961

Contact Us