New State Capitol Exhibit Displays 200 Years Of Fort Smith History

LITTLE ROCK – Secretary of State John Thurston invites the public to view “Arkansas’s Western Post,” the Capitol’s summer exhibit.

In 2019, Arkansas celebrates its two hundredth birthday. In the spring of 1819, it was declared a separate territory, no longer Missouri’s lower half.  That summer and into fall, populations of existing settlements in the east of the new territory swelled modestly, anticipating the arrival of the newly appointed governor and the launch of official business.

But even before Governor James Miller’s keelboat tied up at Arkansas Post in late December, the government of the United States established a foothold in the middle of the sprawling territory: Fort Smith.  A year or more before the first wave of appointees, boomers and speculators descended upon Arkansas Post, the Stars and Stripes flew above a new stockade and fledgling settlement more than two hundred and fifty miles upriver.  They still do.     MORE

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