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Mith242

Pictures of Ft Smith

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I'm going to start off a bit slow here and just one pic for the moment. It's of the Arkansas River. I had wanted to try to take one from the bridge I crossed but there really wasn't much room for pedestrians. As much as I enjoy taking pics I wasn't sure I was willing to go quite that far just to get a pic. But anyway I got some just as I crossed over into Ft Smith anyway. I'm also curious to see if there are many people interested. I still plan to post some pics because I'd like to hope that maybe it might eventually draw someone from Ft Smith over to UP. A little like how posting some pics of Eureka Springs made a couple of people aware of this site. But if there's not a whole lot of interest amoung the forumers already here I may not go to the trouble of posting quite so many of go into posting as much details and info as well. Anyway here's the first pic to get things started and I'll try posting some more later.

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Here's a few shots of the Ft Smith National Cemetery. I ended up here before the national Historical Park because I couldn't quite remember what street it was on.

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I haven't decided what shots to post next. I went to the National Historical park. But I figure people might not be interested as much about the historical aspects as I am and might be more interested in seeing the more 'urban' part of the city.

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Oh goodie, I finally get to see what Ft. Smith looks like.

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Okay I'll go ahead and move on to some pics from Garrison Ave. I think this would basically considered a Main St in most cities. I'll start off at a large Catholic Church at the end of the street. I'm not actually sure if it's the end of the street but if Garrison keeps going it's after a curve. Looking back along the street you can see it's a rather wide street. You can't really see it but not too too far away the road goes over the Arkansas River and into Oklahoma. Looking down the street is toward the northwest. Ft Smith has an interesting grid pattern. Back in those days many cities were laid out on a grid but the grid sometimes conformed to local terrain so they weren't always laid on a north, south, east, west patten. But later on a more regular grid pattern was established. So you have two different grids somewhat offset to each other. Eventually you'll get to some pics of the taller buildings in Ft Smith. They all seem to be around one particular intersection. But to be honest I'm not sure what the ohter street is. Then the rest of the pics in this group are mainly just some of the older buildings along the Garrison Ave.

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Here's a few more pics. This is a park along the Arkansas River on the west side of the city. The bridge is the Garrison Ave bridge across the Arkansas River and into Oklahoma. The National Historical Park is basically just on the other side of the bridge. To be honest I guess I never realized that much of Ft Smith is actually surrounded on three sides by the Arkansas River. Certainly makes the river seem a part of the city.

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Still have some pics from the National Historical Park, the trolleys and the Belle Grove Historical District.

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for some reason i thought that fort smith was way bigger than these pics show. cool nonetheless though

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Thanks for the pics. I worked for a short time in Ft. Smith several years ago. Unfortunately, it looks like it hasn't changed much. As the few grand buildings attest, it sure could use some sprucing up. I thought it was one of the least attractive cities I've ever seen. I know it's gone through some hard times since the tornado. I think it was a shame that Beverly didn't build their HQ downtown. Missed opportunity.

I used to stay at the Holiday Inn one street over from that main drag through town. At the time, there was a new convention center under construction.

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Nice pics, isnt the proposed casino supposed to be just north of the park along the river? If that ever worked out maybe that could help spruce up the downtown area.

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Nice pics, isnt the proposed casino supposed to be just north of the park along the river? If that ever worked out maybe that could help spruce up the downtown area.

Oh yeah thanks for reminding me about that. Yeah it's supposed to be somewhere around that area of town. When I was on the trolley the operator pointed over to this direction and mentioned the proposed casino. I took a pic, I'll look for it and post it here shortly.

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This view really isn't going to help much. But I took this after the trolley operator mentioned that the proposed casino was over in this direction. You can't really even see the park from this vantage point. The development up front is something that's currently being worked on called West End. I think he said the double decker bus is being turned into hot dog stand or taco stand, something along those lines. And the train cars are being converted into a cafe. I'm not sure if the ferris wheel will actually be rideable or not. It looks like that building next to it was part of it as well, maybe some apartments or something. To the left of the ferris wheel you can make out the top of a green building. That's now the visitor center. It's called Miss Laura's, it was a bordelo. It's basically just across the street from that park. I have some pics and info of it as well that I'll post.

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for some reason i thought that fort smith was way bigger than these pics show. cool nonetheless though

Unfortunately, we've not done enough to renew downtown Fort Smith. FSM is likely pushing 85,000 now. MSA likely around 120,000.

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for some reason i thought that fort smith was way bigger than these pics show. cool nonetheless though

I think a lot of it just shows the big difference between Little Rock and the rest of the state.

Thanks for the pics. I worked for a short time in Ft. Smith several years ago. Unfortunately, it looks like it hasn't changed much. As the few grand buildings attest, it sure could use some sprucing up. I thought it was one of the least attractive cities I've ever seen. I know it's gone through some hard times since the tornado. I think it was a shame that Beverly didn't build their HQ downtown. Missed opportunity.

I used to stay at the Holiday Inn one street over from that main drag through town. At the time, there was a new convention center under construction.

To be honest I wasn't sure what to expect. The few times I'd gone with a friend all we mainly did was drive along the street with Central Mall. He never seemed too interested in showing me the rest of the city. I certainly saw some potential in the areas I was in.

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Unfortunately, we've not done enough to renew downtown Fort Smith. FSM is likely pushing 85,000 now. MSA likely around 120,000.

Welcome to the forum ScottF. Glad you found us. We've had a few people stop by who have been in Ft Smith but haven't had anyone who actually currently lived in Ft Smith. I'm hoping you're there now and can perhaps tell us more about the city. Despite not being too far away from NWA I can't say I know a lot about Ft Smith. It seems to be a city that has a lot of potential but seems to be having some hard times right now. I'm guessing these pics might not be much of anything new to you. But if you have any particular info on some of the pics or areas I've shown please feel free to mention it. I certainly wouldn't mind knowing more about some of the areas I visited. Of course I also need to get around to posting some more pics I have as well.

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Here are a few shots of Miss Laura's, which is know the visitor center. I have to say it's probably the most unique visitor center I've ever been to. It was originally the fanciest bordelo in the city and region for that matter. When it was built prostitution wasn't illegal yet. Even after Miss Laura sold it it still operated as a bordelo even unofficially when prostitution was made illegal. It sounds like it was almost torn down back in the 60's. But it was saved and eventually turned into a bar and club. But it sounds like the big tornado that hit Ft Smith did a lot of damage to it as well. Eventually the city fixed it up and now uses it as it's visitor center. One interesting fact I learned about it is that it's the only bordelo in the nation that on the National Register of Historic Places. It's basically just across the street from the park on the river. Afraid I don't know the name of the park. Almost seems like a bit of an odd location because there doesn't look like there are any other houses around in this area.

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Here are some trolley pics. As I mentioned before I was surprised to hear there was a trolley system in Ft Smith, I'd never heard of it before. Although before anyone gets their hopes up right now it's mainly more of a ride than something to transport you around. Right now it's range is rather limited and up until recent times everything was done by a few locals. But the city has gotten more interested in it and is helping work on extending the route sometime in the future. The main trolley in use was built in 1926. The later pics of the yellow trolley is one that they are currently working on and it's from 1904.

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Here's some pics from the belle grove Historical District. Which was actually my last stop of the day and I didn't even see as much of it as I had wanted. But I guess I wasn't ready for how hot and humid it was going to be and I had spent all day walking around Van Buren and Ft Smith. After walking around a little bit in this area I finally gave up and walked back to my car. Anyway the first few pics are of the old Belle Grove school. I think it was built in the 1880's or 1890's. It's been converted into apartments. The rest of the pics are just some of the old houses I saw. This residential historical district seemed pretty big compared to the ones we have up here in NWA. Of course Ft Smith was a rather important city back in those days.

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I still have some pics of the National Historical Park and some more views of the river I'll eventually get around to posting.

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Okay let's try this again. I seem to be having internet problem. Here's a panoramic of west Ft Smith of the Arkansas River. On the right is the Garrison St bridge going over to Oklahoma. It's hard to make out in this picture. But on the left os the confluence of the Poteau and Arkansas Rivers.

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More pics if my internet starts working a little better.

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Here's a few pics of the little remains of the very first fort. I doesn't sound like it lasted very long before they eventually built the second fort a little further up on the hill.

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Here's a few odd pics. I don't know if they'll appeal to anyone here on the Arkansas forum. But I do know people in other forums who really get into seeing graphitti, so I thought I'd show off a little I saw down there.

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Maybe I can finally get around to finishing these pics off and show some more around the National Historical Park.

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Okay here are some pics around the main grounds of the National Historical Park. Around the grounds you can see a stone border that marks where the wall was. In one part part of it has been reconstructed. The buildings is the old commissary. I believe it's one of two buildings that are basically all theat's left of the original second fort. The flag pole is rather interesting. They wanted it to be seen as far as possible so they constructed it of two poles like a mast of a ship.

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Then there the visitor center. There's the older original part and then at some point there was an addition, perhaps when it was converted in the court, but I believe it's rather old as well. Although it was a part of the original second fort it's probably more known as the court of Isaac parker, the Hanging Judge. It also possibly could have been the thing that saved the building as well. The bottom part of the building was used as the jail. There are a couple of pics from there. A portrait of Judge Isaac Parker and his courtroom. Then of course a stop at the gallows where much of his justice was carried out.

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Certainly reminds you of the fact that at one time we were the west. I don't know about the rest of the city but around the National Historical Park you feel like it's a bit where the south and west merged. That's all the pics I have. Hope everyone enjoyed then. I also hope maybe we can get a few more Ft Smith people to discover us here as well. As always comments or questions are welcome.

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