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Fort Smith National Historic Site

At Fort Smith National Historic Site you can walk where soldiers drilled, pause along the Trail of Tears, and stand where justice was served. The park includes the remains of two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas.  Judge Isaac C. Parker, known as the “hanging judge,” presided over the court for 21 years.

The reconstructed Gallows at Fort Smith National Historic Site, where 86 men were executed from 1873 through 1896. (Greg Disch)

The reconstructed Gallows at Fort Smith National Historic Site, where 86 men were executed from 1873 through 1896.

What to Photograph:

Barracks/courthouse/jail building, the site of the first fort, the courtroom of judge Parker and of course the gallows. The fort was built at Belle Point overlooking the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers and looks much the same as it did 100years ago.  The 37 star Garrison flag atop a 100′ flag pole, in the Parade ground where for more than 30 years, during the mid 1800’s soldiers drilled.  A recent addition to the site was the aquistion of the Frisco Station Depot, which is currently housing the Offices for the United States Mashal Museum, which will be building a new facility nearby in the near future.  There are exhibits in the vistor center which focus on Fort Smith’s milatary history.

Visitors touring these buildings can see Judge Parker’s restored courtroom, the “Hell on the Border” jail, a partial reconstruction of the 1888s jail cells, as well as exhibits and videos on military history, Native Americans, the Trail of Tears, the operation of the federal court and its impact on Indian Territory, and U.S. Deputy Marshals and outlaws.

Best Time for Photographers:

Most anytime, is a good time to photograph here, you can shoot during all seasons and the site grounds are open at night for those interested in night photography.

The Visitors’ Center is open daily, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and is scheduled to be closed only on December 25 and January 1.  The Park’s Grounds are open 24/7/365 and include the paved Rivertrail, parking lots, picnic tables, and some outdoor exhibits.

Where it is:

Downtown Fort Smith, Arkansas along the Arkansas River.

Directions:

From downtown Fort Smith on Rogers or Garrison Ave turn south at 4th St. Turn right onto Garland Ave. At the end of the next block is the entrance to the main parking lot. Parking is also available on Third Street.

Maps:

Click on map to enlarge

Interactive Google Map

Use the map  + – controls to zoom in and out, click and drag the to move the map, use the Map drop-down to change to “Map”, “Satellite”, “Hybrid”, or “Terrain” views.  Drag the little man icon from the upper left corner to a map location for street level view.

Cost:

Entrance Fees Individual (16 and Above)
$4.00 (7 day pass)Individuals aged 16 and above are charged a $4.00 fee. Entrance fee is good for individual entrance into the exhibits inside the Barracks / Courthouse building.Other National Park passes are accepted.

You can walk around on the grounds without paying the entrance fee, it is only collected for the inside exhibits.

Links:

Fort Smith National Historic Site
Fort Smith Convention and Visitor’s Bureau
Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce
City of Fort Smith

Location Contact Information:

Fort Smith National Historic Site
PO Box 1406
Fort Smith, AR 72902

E-mail Us

Phone:
Visitor Center and offices
(479) 783-3961
Fax  (479) 783-5307

Nearest City or Town:

Fort Smith,  Arkansas

Facilities:

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas.  With an estimated population of 85,544 in 2009, it is the principal city of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 293,063 residents which encompasses the Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian, and the Oklahoma counties Le Flore and Sequoyah.

7he 37 star US Flag flown over the Fort Smith National Historic Site. (Greg Disch)

Tips for the Photographer:

Equipment:

You do not need a great deal of equipment to photograph the National Historic Site, most things can be shot with a standard lens.  A flash will be necessary if you want to shoot inside the buildings.

Photography Tips:

There is a great veriety of subject matter to photograph and most any style and type of photography can be done at the Historic Site.  If you are shooting outdoors you will want a polarizing filter to enhance the blue skies.  Try and find interesting angles and be sure to watch your backgrounds, you are in downtown Fort Smith.


 

Current Weather:

Current Sunrise/Sunset and Moon Phase for this Photographic Destination

Click for Fort Smith, Arkansas Forecast


 

Fort Smith National Historic Site Photo Gallery

Click Here for full page gallery

 

 

More Photographic Destinations in Arkansas:

Interactive Google Map

Use the map  + – controls to zoom in and out, use the Map drop-down to change to “Map”, “Satellite”, “Hybrid”, or “Terrain” views.  Drag the little man icon from the upper left corner to a map location for street level view. Click on a pushpin for more information about the Photographic Destination, then click on the title to go to the location page.

Click Here for Photographic Destinations by State

 

 Greg Disch is a freelance photographer located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  Greg specializes in nature, scenic, wildlife, and other outdoor subjects in Arkansas and other areas of the country. Greg also shoots portraits and event photography and is available for assignments.  Greg teaches photography classes and workshops in Arkansas and other locations.  Most of the images on this site are available for sale as prints, personal use, or rights managed stock photos.

 


 

 


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Contact Me

Greg Disch
479-414-6889
1918 N. 7th Street
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72904
gdisch@gregdisch.com

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