In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the first Fort Smith on December 25, 1817, many events are planned beginning with a re-enactment of the arrival of the first soldiers at Belle Point scheduled for December 25, 2017. Following the brief program, join the Fort Smith Museum of History for birthday cake and hot chocolate in the museum's old fashioned soda fountain.
On December 25, 1817, Major William Bradford arrived by keelboat with soldiers of the U. S. Rifle Regiment to establish a military garrison at Belle Point. The post was later named Fort Smith for General Thomas A. Smith, Commander of the Rifle Regiment.
The museum will feature the only known image of the first Fort Smith: a watercolor executed by artist Samuel Seymour in 1820. Seymour visited Fort Smith on the return from the 1819-1820 Rocky Mountain Expedition with Major Stephen H. Long, U. S. Army Engineer. The watercolor is loaned courtesy of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. View the original Samuel Seymour, December 25-March 30, 2018.
A reproduction of the six-oared skiff used by Major Stephen H. Long to select the site of Fort Smith during the fall of 1817 will be constructed in the museum's Boyd Gallery by Floyd Robison, beginning in December. Upon completion, the skiff reproduction will be included in the updated first floor Timeline exhibit.
Join the Fort Smith Museum of History to celebrate 200 years!