Fort Smith National Historic Site

Fort Smith, AR Historical Unclaimed
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About Fort Smith National Historic Site

Fort Smith National Historic Site preserves over 80 years of fascinating and rich history, as it tells the story of life on the edge of Indian Territory, through the eyes of the soldiers, the dangerous outlaws, and the brave lawmen who pursued them!

There are so many things to do and see at Fort Smith National Historic Site. You can visit the federal courthouse used by Judge Isaac C Parker in the late 19th century, and learn how it was originally used as the military barracks.

You can also see how the former mess halls were converted into two large jail cells! It was nicknamed "Hell on the Border" - can you guess why kids after seeing it?

There are exhibits on the Deputy US Marshals, and other federal court employees (over 1000 were hired across the years!), and learn all about the outlaws of the 19th century.

You see kids, back in those days, not only did you have the law-abiding Indians,  but you also had desperate criminals trying to run! How do you think the US Marshals managed to find those outlaws over the 74,000 square miles? 

A sombre part of the experience is a visit to the gallows, which served in use for 23 years. 86 men saw their final breath here, and a reconstruction stands today.

To add to your educational and historic family day out at Fort Smith National Historic Site, you can attend a ranger-led program, pick up an audio walking tour, or just talk a stroll around the grounds!

There is so much to see and do, you better get ready so your history lesson can begin!

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How much does it cost?

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Adults $10 for exhibits in visitor center. Free to just walk the grounds

Children Same as adult

Last Update 2022

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Fort Smith National Historic Site FAQ’s

I’m Hungry! Can I get food at Fort Smith National Historic Site?

Bring your own lunch and enjoy a picnic under one of the many shade trees or on one of their picnic tables located next to the main parking lot.

Any top tips when visiting?

Kids can enjoy interactive fun and learning by picking up a Junior Ranger badge! Just ask at the Visitor Center.

Does Fort Smith National Historic Site have a gift shop?

The Eastern National bookstore features a variety unique souvenirs and gifts associated with the parks history. Items available for purchase include historic toys for children of all ages, books, maps, pins, patches, T-shirts, DVDs, artwork from local artists, and much more.

Teachers corner

Ranger Guided Programs may be requested for Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-4pm. All programs are designed to be either Ranger or Teacher Guided, and need to be arranged at least 3 weeks in advance

Does Fort Smith National Historic Site have healthy eating or Vegan options?

Take bottled water, especially if you are going to spend time walking the grounds