On Christmas day in 1817, settlers landed at Belle Point. This year marks 200 years since that voyage, and the city is putting on a celebration to honor those settlers. Come out to the Fort Smith Historic Site to see a reenactment on Dec. 25 this year. Then, go to the reception at the Fort Smith Museum of History when the reenactment is over. The Fort Smith 200th Birthday Celebration runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is the first of various celebrations that will run through 2018.
The History of Fort Smith
This special birthday celebration will likely pique your interest in the history of the city. Many residents don’t realize that Fort Smith began as a military outpost. When the settlers arrived in 1817, their job was to patrol a Native American territory that neighbored the area.
They decided to name the outpost Fort Smith after General Thomas Smith. It operated as a military fort for seven years, but the military abandoned it in 1824. However, a town had formed right next to the fort. The townspeople reoccupied the fort, and it eventually expanded in 1838. They lived there for years until abandoning the fort again in 1871. It was never reoccupied by residents. Instead, the abandoned fort became Fort Smith National Historic Site.
About the Fort Smith National Historic Site
The Fort Smith National Historic Site is full of interesting history. First, of course, it’s home to Belle Point. That’s where you’ll go for the birthday celebration. It also has old jails, a courtroom, and gallows. It even contains the Trail of Tears Overlook. If you’re interested in the history of the area, this site is a must-see.
Can’t Attend the Birthday Party?
The city knows that everyone won’t be able to attend this special celebration on Christmas day. However, many have free afternoons on Christmas, so those who can are encouraged to come out. If you can’t make it, don’t feel like you missed the bicentennial celebration. Two-hundred years is a big deal, so the city is planning celebrations throughout 2018. Keep checking back to find out when the next celebration will be.
The birthday celebration isn’t the only thing going on in Fort Smith. J. Pauley Toyota in Fort Smith, Arkansas, is also the place to be this holiday season. We have the full lineup of Toyotas ready to go home today, so stop in and see us.