How much do you know about Fort Smith? You probably have basic knowledge, but if you’re like most people, you don’t really know the history. Now, you can finally change that without hitting the books. Attend the Downtown Stroll and Scavenger Hunt on June 2. The stroll will be at 11 a.m., and the scavenger hunt will be at noon. The scavenger hunt is for the kiddos, so bring them along so they’ll have some fun. The event is organized by the Fort Smith Museum of History, and it will be incredibly informative.
This isn’t some bland tour. Reenactors will take you around Fort Smith, explaining the history of the city.
Your guides will be Mr. and Mrs. Judge Isaac C. Parker. Judge Parker was known as the “Hanging Judge,” and that’s a title he earned. He sentenced a total of 160 people to die, and many of those sentences were handed down before defendants had the right to appeal. It was a different time back then, and Judge Parker will tell you all about it on your tour. Don’t be shocked if he doesn’t regret all those sentences. You also shouldn’t be surprised if you find out there was a lot to like about Judge Parker. To say he had a complicated career would be an understatement. Give him a listen to get a better understanding of what motivated him and to learn about the good work he did in between all those hangings.
The Judge will certainly have something to say when you come across Wild West outlaws during your tour. Belle Starr the Bandit Queen is expected to make an appearance. Now, Belle wasn’t sentenced to death by Judge Parker. She was actually shot to death, and the case remains unsolved to this day. There is no telling who might have shot her. As an associated of the James-Younger Gang, she was involved with some shady characters. She will give you some insight into what it was like to be an outlaw back in the day.
You’ll also come across some other characters during your trip. Be sure to ask them some questions so you can learn even more about them.
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