The local trolley museum offers a brief tour of Fort Smith for $2 a person. The trolley drive gave us information about the trolley service in Fort Smith as well as other history and lore.
After the trolley ride we headed to the Fort Smith National Historic Site which consisted of the sites of two old Federal forts as well as the Federal Court for the District of Western Arkansas where Hanging Judge Parker presided for 21 years. Judge Parker helped to establish order in not only Fort Smith but the Indian Territory to the west. This area was frequented by the likes of notorious characters such as the Youngers, James’, Quantrells, Belle Starr and other desperados.
Fort Smith was a point of departure for many settlers heading to the southwest. Additionally, most of the Native Americans on a forced move, the Trail of Tears, to Indian Territory from points east were funneled through Fort Smith.
Judge Isaac C. Parker’s courtroom.
A paddy wagon
Having lunch at a local eatery.
The local visitor center, Miss Laura’s, is also a point of interest. A restored house of ill-fame in what was Fort Smith’s infamous Red-Light district call “The Row.” The building narrowly escaped three disasters: a fire that took out much of “The Row,”the wrecking ball in 1963 and a storm that took the roof (don’t know the date).
Three parlors (below) with the original pocket doors.
Fort Smith turned out to be a very interesting place. Too bad we didn’t have more time to spend exploring, but we had to get back to the festivities at the Samboree.