Arkansas April 01, 2018
The Wild West Never Left This Arkansas Town
We’ve looked at the
most musical town as well as the most artistic town but today’s focus is a little different. This particular town didn’t change after celebrities visited like in Walnut Ridge, nor did the town develop a niche later on like Eureka Springs. Fort Smith has progressed and developed throughout the centuries but the Wild West simply never left. Let’s look at some of the lingering western elements that make this city unique.
Dubbed "Hell on the Border," Fort Smith is Arkansas' true West town.
The insult-turned-catchphrase came from Anna Dawes, daughter of Senator Henry Dawes, in 1885. Her article lambasting the jail at the time caused Congress to pass funding for a new Fort Smith prison.
Even in modern times, this city reflects its old west heritage.
Fort Smith was named the #1 Top True Western Town" by True West Magazine.
It's true that the area has developed into Arkansas' second biggest city, but that certainly hasn't diminished the Western spirit of Fort Smith.
After all, Fort Smith's welcome center used to be a house of ill repute back in the day.
Miss Laura's is actually the only former bordello in Arkansas listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The city is famous for it's "Hanging Judge" Issac C. Parker.
Judge Parker sentenced 160 men and women who had been found guilty of rape or murder to the gallows.
In addition to the famed Judge Parker, you'll more than likely come across the Bass Reeve statue.
The legendary Bass Reeves was one of the first black lawmen west of the Mississippi River. He arrested over 3,000 lawbreakers during his time as a marshal.
The Western town is also inspirational for many books and movies such as
True Grit and Lonesome Dove.
And Clint Eastwood's
The city will soon be opening the U.S. Marshals Museum. Yet another way the city promotes its Western ties.
We're looking forward to visiting the museum when it opens in Sept. 2019. You can check on the progress of the museum on their website right
If you've been putting it off, this is the year to visit Fort Smith.
The city just turned 200 and is hosting all sorts of events in celebration.
From concerts to reenactments, you can keep up with the happenings right
This odd hybrid of urban development and Old West preservation will really make you think, "Life's worth living in Fort Smith, Arkansas."
Where’s your favorite place to take someone in Fort Smith? Share with us in the comments below!
While you’re in Fort Smith you may want to read about its
unsuspecting grocery warehouse or its cupcake cafe that just so happens to be the best in the world.