April 12 – Fort Smith, Arkansas

It reminds me so much of what you think of the typical Arkansas – small towns, hills and valleys, small mountains, shops all along the way, antique stores and small businesses – enjoyable ride – though you had to keep your eye on the road all the time and couldn’t use cruise control.  Beautiful ride!

Arrived at Overland RV Park in Fort Smith – nothing to write home about – huge parking lot with what looks like a lot of live-ins – no trees or any décor. But its home and we have full hookups and are close to our destinations – besides its only two days.arrived

Off to see Fort Smith NHS. We stopped at Miss Laura’s, which is the only brothel on the National Register of Historic Places. Had a great tour, the docent gave us the ins and outs of the building and the history behind it. The house became known as the most refined and the healthiest of Fort Smith’s. It operated until 1948. They now operate as a Visitor’s Center and their motto is “Our Brothel still takes care of our visitors”.

Then over to Fort Smith. Got the movie and the stamp.

The history is amazing. Its first purpose in 1817 was to protect the area from Indians, then it was a fort during the Civil War (never saw a battle but was a supply station),

then it became the Federal Court House for the Indian territory (westward) with “Hanging Judge” Palmer. He heard 13,000 cases and sentenced to hang 160, only 79 faced the gallows.

The gallows drew the public for “show time” and had the capacity to hang 12 at once – history has it that 6 was the most at once.

The U.S. Marshalls were posted here and many famous one were stationed here including Bass Reeves (whom the story of the Lone Ranger is based on).

The prison in the fort was a place of “hell”.

Couldn’t leave town until we visited the Bricktown Brewery – right next door to the fort. Beer not bad but it wasn’t brewed locally but is a franchise from Oklahoma.DSC_0061

Thursday was our day to search cemeteries – that’s the main reason we came to Fort Smith because Brenda has relatives who lived and died here.

Visited the local cemetery and the local caretaker – who Brenda had called the day before – took us out and showed us where her relatives were buried.

He then mentioned about the library having a great record system of births and deaths, so she quickly dropped me off and she spent the day researching. I installed my new odometer and called Alaska and called DirecTV and other things I need to get done.

Got a phone call from Josh and Leah and they are still in the Keys, hoping to get on their way to the Bahamas by Tuesday next week. They are doing well as they continue to add items to the boat and get all the stuff they need.

Friday is heading toward Camdenton, Missouri but we won’t get there until Saturday.

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