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Christmas Day Bicentennial Celebration

December 25, 2017
1:00 p.m.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the founding of the first Fort Smith on Dec. 25, 1817, many events are planned beginning with a re-enactment of the arrival of the first soldiers at Belle Point. A re-enactment of the arrival of the soldiers tasked with establishing Fort Smith will be held at the Fort Smitn National Historic Site at Belle Point on the Arkansas River. A replica keelboat will land between 1 and 2 p.m., followed by a short historical talk with music. Following the brief program, all are invited to the Fort Smith Museum of History for birthday cake and hot chocolate in the museum's old fashioned soda fountain. On December 25, 1817, Major William Bradford arrived by keelboat with soldiers of the U. S. Rifle Regiment to establish a military garrison at Belle Point. The post was later named Fort Smith for General Thomas A. Smith, Commander of the Rifle Regiment. The museum will feature the only known image of the first Fort Smith: a watercolor executed by artist Samuel Seymour in 1820. Seymour visited Fort Smith on the return from the 1819-1820 Rocky Mountain Expedition with Major Stephen H. Long, U. S. Army Engineer. The watercolor is loaned courtesy of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Ewell Sale Stewart Library in Philadelphia. View the original Samuel Seymour, December 25-March 2018. A reproduction of the six-oared skiff used by Major Stephen H. Long to select the site of Fort Smith during the fall of 1817 will be constructed in the museum's Boyd Gallery by Floyd Robison, beginning in December. Upon completion, the skiff reproduction will be included in the updated first floor Timeline exhibit.

Admission: Admission: $7 adults; $5 veterans and military; $2 children; under age 6 are free

Event Location and Contact Information:
Fort Smith Museum of History
320 Rogers Avenue
Fort Smith, Arkansas


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Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online