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Rooted in History

Belle Grove Historic District
North 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th streets

This 22-block area reflects a variety of architectural styles from the past 130 years featuring restored homes and buildings lining the streets with lush, mature trees and foliage. The district is on the National Register of Historic Places and delights visitors young and old who enjoy a stroll down memory lane.

Clayton House
514 North 6th Street

victorian house

Originally built in the 1850s, this classic Victorian Renaissance baroque mansion was enlarged in 1882 by William Henry Harrison Clayton, the U.S. district attorney in Judge Parker’s Court. The house is fully restored with Clayton family belongings and other period furnishings. The house is open for tours Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children ages 12 to 18.

Darby House
311 General Darby Street

The Darby Foundation, founded in 1977, restored the boyhood home of William O. Darby, the leader of Darby’s Rangers in World War II. The house is a tribute and memorial to Darby and all U.S. Rangers and contains artifacts from Cisterna, Italy, the sister city to Fort Smith. Admission is free.

Fort Chaffee

civil war

Built in the early 1940s, Fort Chaffee served as a training facility for soldiers heading to the front lines of World War II. Today, the post is used for training National Guard troops. Located on post grounds is the Maness School House – the only building in the entire area that was not moved or destroyed when construction began in 1940. The schoolhouse was completed in February 1937, and German POWs built the back porch in 1943. The school was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 2003. Visitors can also see the Fort Chaffee barber shop where – on March 25, 1958 – Elvis Presley received his first Army haircut.

Fort Smith Museum of History
320 Rogers Avenue

For more than 100 years, the Fort Smith Museum of History has been telling the intriguing and exciting stories of Fort Smith’s colorful past. The museum acquires, preserves, exhibits and interprets objects of historical significance relevant to the Greater Fort Smith Region, from frontier justice to

manufacturing. A gift shop full of unusual gifts and a 1920s soda fountain are also available for guests. Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6 to 11. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year round and also open Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Fort Smith National Historic Site
301 Parker Avenue

At the Fort Smith National Historic Site, visitors can walk where soldiers drilled, pause along the Trail of Tears and stand where justice was served. The park includes the remains of two frontier forts, the Federal Court for “hanging judge” Isaac C. Parker, the barracks/courthouse/jail, gallows and J.M. Sparks 1887 home. The site is open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Admission is charged. Children 16 and younger are free.

Fort Smith Trolley Museum
100 South 4th Street

The Fort Smith Trolley Museum is full of fascinating displays of vintage cabooses, passenger cars, locomotives, and railroad and other transportation memorabilia with a Frisco 4003 Steam Locomotive on display. Visitors can take a ride on a 1926 restored Birney Streetcar for a nostalgic ride through downtown. The museum is open Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission. The trolley runs Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tokens are $2 for adults and $1 for children.

Miss Laura’s Visitor Center
2 North B Street

Miss Laura’s, the only bordello listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now the unique setting for the Fort Smith Visitor Center. Built just before the turn of the century as the city's unique Riverfront Hotel, the ornate building soon became widely-known as "Miss Laura's," the premier bawdyhouse in the rough-and- tumble part of Fort Smith along the Arkansas River. Today, visitors can expect to see the same ill-repute women of the night in complete costume or can ride a trolley through the historic district. The center is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

United States National Cemetery
522 Garland and South 6th streets

Land was set aside for a military cemetery when the first fort was built in 1817. Granted national status in 1867, the 21-acre U.S. National Cemetery contains almost 10,000 graves. Some of its most famous residents include Judge Isaac Parker, Darby’s Rangers founder William O’Darby and numerous federal marshals. The cemetery is known for its colorful “Avenue of Flags” displayed each year on patriotic holidays. Cemetery gates are open daily with office hours from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. There is no charge for admission.

Van Buren Historic Main Street


Art galleries, antique shops, boutiques, Victorian accessories, restaurants and historical attractions all dot historic Main Street located in downtown Van Buren. Attractions include the Crawford County Bank Building where marble mantles, lavatories, waterworks and electric lights were the marvel of Van Buren’s first bank, circa 1889 and the Crawford County Courthouse that was built in 1842 and is the oldest working courthouse west of the Mississippi. King Opera House is also located on Main Street, along with the Old Frisco Depot that has been restored and serves as the Van Buren Visitors Center. Built in 1901, the depot is also the departure point for the Arkansas and Missouri passenger railroad that travels through the scenic Ozark Mountains.

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