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Fort Smith

Fort Smith, city (1990 pop. 72,798), seat of Sebastian co., NW Ark., at the Okla. line where the Arkansas and Poteau rivers join; inc. 1842. It is the rail, trade, and industrial center of a farm and livestock area. Its manufactures include construction materials, food and beverages, textiles, furniture, and hardware. An 1817 military post here became a supply point during the 1848 gold rush; the lawless area was cleaned up (1870s) by Hanging Judge Isaac Parker , but Bordello Row and other reminders are celebrated today. The Fort Smith National Historic Site includes the Old Fort Museum and Judge Parker's court (see National Parks and Monuments , table). A national Civil War cemetery and an annual rodeo draw visitors. In 1969 the city was linked by the Arkansas River project with the Gulf of Mexico; the dam built east of Fort Smith created a large lake.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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