As technology advances and times change, we find it increasingly more difficult to discover areas of America that are still stuck in time and can let us have a nostalgic adventure. Some of us are still adjusting to the fact that pay phones are now an ancient, abandoned pieces of our history that look like out of place objects to the younger generations. So when we come across a place like Fort Smith, Arkansas where history is still at our fingertips and can transport us into the past, we love it!
Known as the Gateway To The West, the Fort Smith National Historic Site is a place that every American should visit at least once.
The beautiful site preserves nearly 80 years of history from the 1800s. While Fort Smith may be the second largest city in Arkansas, taking a trip the national historic site puts you in the middle of what once was a small town that had a major role in our country's history.
How much does it cost to visit? Visitors that are 15 years old and younger get to experience the historic site for free when they're accompanied by an adult. All other visitors will have to pay a $6 dollar admission fee. You can also pay $30 dollars to receive a one-year pass if you plan on making several visits!
Throughout the historic site you'll be able to see a courtroom, two jails and several other historic buildings from this time period.
One of the best things about visiting this place is that everything is
so well preserved. It's easier to imagine how life was here when you can explore the buildings and see how simple things use to be.
Another one of the things you can check out here? The old gallows.
Thanks to the Rangers that help take care of the historic site, the nearly 90 lives that were lost to the gallows between the years of 1873 and 1896 are remembered on the anniversaries of their deaths. While visiting this particular area of the sight can feel a bit eerie, it's an incredible reminder of just how much the times have changed.
Fort Smith has
long been recognized
for being one of the best true Western towns that our country has.
There's so much to see here; visitors spend anywhere from one hour to an entire afternoon checking out all the areas of the historic site. From the Trail of Tears Overlook on the Arkansas River to the site of an abandoned fort that no longer stands, there's tons of history to soak in.
How to get here: 301 Parker Avenue Fort Smith, AR 72901
Throughout the city you'll find more areas that you can visit that are preserving the area's history, like Miss Laura's Visitors Center!
A favorite place for visitors to check out while they're exploring this historic downtown area of Fort Smith is this historical visitors center. The Victorian mansion that once served as a restaurant and social club is now up and running thanks to donations that made it possible to have this piece of history restored for the public. Inside, you can see how the residents of Fort Smith once lived during the True West.
Everything you see inside of the Visitors Center was donated by residents of Forth Smith. The historical house is now on the National Register of Historical Places.
How to get here: 2 North B Street Fort Smith, AR 72901
Hours: Monday through Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. & Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Price:FREE, but donations are very welcome!
Another great way to experience this historical city is to take a trip to the Trolley Museum!
Who doesn't enjoy a good old trolley ride? At Fort Smith's Trolley Museum you can not only dive into the history of railroad equipment and electric streetcars, you'll also be able to take a trolley ride. For adults to ride the trolley it will cost $4.00, and for children the ride is only $2.00. A great way to enjoy Fort Smith's history without breaking your bank! Pictured above you can see that the museum features its own little western town and other historic gems that will quickly take you back in time. With plenty of museums to check out in the area, it can be hard to visit them all. But you don't want to miss the Trolley Museum.
How to get here: 100 South 4th Street Fort Smith, Arkansas, 72901
Museum Hours & Trolley Schedule: Monday through Saturday: 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. & Sunday: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.