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About Fort Smith

Fort Smith is located in colorful and scenic western Arkansas, on the Oklahoma border. The Arkansas River surrounds the city on three sides. With the river valley, the Ozark mountains to the north, and the Ouachita mountains to the south, this is a paradise for outdoor lovers. Fort Smith has a population near 100,000, with many smaller communities surrounding it, giving this region a population near 250,000. Several airlines serve the area, with most connecting through Dallas/Fort Worth or Memphis.

Fort Smith was historically the “city where the west begins.” As such, the area is steeped in history. Fort Smith was home to “Hangin’ Judge” Isaac Parker, and his gallows still stand in the old fort historical area, near his courthouse. Belle Star entertained her gentlemen guests just a few blocks away in her brothel on First Street. Several buildings from the old fort still stand and are preserved in the historical area. The Old Fort Museum is open daily and free to the public. Several films, including: Hang ‘Em High” and “True Grit” are based on the history of this area. Other films including “The Blue and the Gray”, Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” and “A Soldiers Story” were filmed in the area.

Many diverse cultural activities are offered, and include the Little Theater, Fort Smith Symphony, the Old Fort Rodeo, the richest barrel racing futurity in the world, and many activities offered through the Art Center and the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith. The Belle Grove Historic District is home to the Fort Smith Arts Center and contains many homes that have been restored to their original Victorian beauty. The Fort Smith Civic Center is located in the downtown area, and provides facilities for conventions, sports, and theater activities.

The city maintains over 190 acres of parks and recreational facilities, several golf courses, tennis courts and public swimming pools. Camping and hiking in the nearby National Forest are favorite pastimes for many. Fishing and hunting opportunities are nearby for sportsmen. The surrounding mountains offer outdoor recreational, hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, and hiking activities year round. The Mulberry River and Illinois River are two of the middle Americas favorite whitewater canoeing streams and are appropriate for beginners, but enjoyable for more expert sportsmen. The Cosatot River in the Ouachita Mountains offers class III, IV, and V rapids for the more adventurous kayakers and canoeist, but is definitely not for beginners. The fishing is good at several area lakes and rivers. Hunting is available for dove, quail, squirrel, rabbit, and white tail deer.