Fort Smith lies on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state border, situated at the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, also known as Belle Point. Fort Smith was established as a western frontier military post in 1817, when it was also a center of fur trading. The city developed there. It became well known as a base for migrants' settling of the "Wild West" and for its law enforcement heritage.
The city government is led by Mayor George McGill (D), who made history in 2018 when he was elected as the city's first African American mayor, and a city Board of Directors composed of three members elected at-large and four members elected by ward.
Fort Smith National Historic Site, the most prominent landmark, which includes the remains of the original 1817 fort on the Arkansas River. Inside is the restored courtroom of the famed "Hangin' Judge" Isaac C. Parker, and the dingy frontier jail aptly named "Hell on the Border." Eventually, this would become the unofficial nickname for all of Fort Smith.
Belle Grove Historic District, a 22-block area in downtown Fort Smith comprises nearly 25 restored homes that span 130 years of varying architectural styles.
Clayton House Museum, formerly the home of W. H. H. Clayton, United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas and chief prosecutor in the court of "hanging judge" Isaac Parker, was built for Clayton in 1882 and owned by him until 1912. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.
Fort Chaffee, primarily used as a training facility by regional National Guard and Reserve Corps units as well as active military units from other installations. In 1958, the entertainer Elvis Presley stopped off at Fort Chaffee en route to his basic training in Texas. It was here that the public information officer John J. Mawn told a news conference that Presley would receive the standard "G.I. haircut" and would resemble a "peeled onion".
Christ the King Church (Fort Smith, Arkansas)
The Christ the King Church is a historic church building at Greenwood and South "S" Streets in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It is a Mission/Spanish revival style church built out of native fieldstone in 1930 to a design by Thompson, Sanders & Ginocchio. It is an architecturally distinctive example of the work of Arkansas architect Charles L. Thompson, with transepts located near the front of the building (instead of the more traditional rear), and the angled parapet leading to the open belltower. The building is now used by the parish as an academic facilities.