Fort Smith, Arkansas


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Fort Smith Business Signs

The city of Fort Smith lies on the border of the modern day US states of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  The city sits at the junction of the Arkansas and Poteau Rivers, a place also known as Belle Point.  Prior to French occupation, this area was home to Cherokee and Choctaw peoples.  By 1803, however, this area became part of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.  The first representatives of the United States to explore the area came in 1806 as part of the Pike Expedition.  In 1817, General Thomas Adams Smith, commander of the United States Army Rifle Regiment headquartered near St. Louis, sent topographical engineer Stephen H. Long to find a site along the Arkansas River where a fort could be built.  For this reason, the city of Fort Smith was named after General Thomas Adams Smith.  In 1824, the Army abandoned the original Fort Smith, but nevertheless, it still grew into a city.  Fort Smith, Arkansas was officially incorporated in 1842.

According to a 2013 estimate by the US Census Bureau, the city of Fort Smith, Arkansas has a total population of 87,650 people.  This makes it the second largest city in the state of Arkansas.  Fort Smith also serves as the principal city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area.  According to that same 2013 estimate, this metropolitan area has a total population of 279,974 people.  This makes it the 165th most populous metropolitan area in the country.

As can be surmised, Fort Smith, Arkansas has a long and varied history.  In order to honor and acknowledge such a history, one of the city’s main attractions is the Fort Smith National Historic Site.  This historic site contains the remains of two U.S. military forts dating back to the 19th century.  It is listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places and is also considered a U.S. National Historic Landmark District.  It is perhaps best known as being a major stop along the “Trail of Tears,” a forced migration of Native Americans leading to many fatalities.

Along with this history, Fort Smith is also well known as being a bastion of military might.  In fact, the United States Marshals Service National Museum is located in the area.  Fort Smith, Arkansas is also the home of the 188th Wing of the Air National Guard, whose nickname is the “Flying Razorbacks.”  The 188th Wing employs 1,100 people in the area.  The two top employers in the city of Fort Smith, according to a 2011 comprehensive annual financial report, are Sparks Health System and Baldor Electric Company, responsible for 2,400 and 2,393 jobs, respectively.

As for sporting events and franchises, Fort Smith, Arkansas is fit to bursting with them.  The city hosts two annual rodeos: Old Fort Days Rodeo and Hanging Judge Border Feud High School Rodeo.  The 188th Air Wing also sponsors an annual air show.  As for sporting franchises, Fort Smith boasts the River Valley Roller Girls, Fort Smith Express Soccer, Fort Smith Church League Baseball, Fort Smith Juniors Volleyball, Western Arkansas Runners, Ben Green Park Softball, Western Arkansas Tennis Association, and Arkansas Canoe Club.

Do you, by any chance, own a small business in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area?  Are you considering beginning such a venture?  These resources could prove useful to you now or in the future:

Apply for a Business License in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Doing Business in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce

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