The year 2017 marked Fort Smith’s 200th anniversary.  There’s a really cool video from that delves into our history and ties it up with our present, the central message being that Fort Smith is looking to the future to keep our city vibrant and strong and in many ways traditional.

The theme is summed up well in the article by our current Mayor-Elect George McGill when he says, “I’m encouraging everyone to embrace who we are and lets be the best we can be and the future will be exactly what we want it to be.”

You already probably know most of the stuff about Fort Smith in the video and article.  So in celebration of our moving into our third century, I want to share four things you might not know.

  1. Fort Smith has 1,391 people per square mile. If you think that’s crowded, New York city has about 10,500 people per square mile. And Mumbai, India, has more than 76,000 people per square mile.  Can you imagine 76,000 people per square mile in Fort Smith?  They’d have to widen Rogers Ave., that’s for sure.  And good luck getting a reservation in a restaurant.
  2. One of our sister cities is Jining, China. (1,900 people per square mile, FYI.)
  3. After bank robber and killer Bonnie Parker was badly burned in a car accident in 1933, she and partner-in-crime Clyde Barrow hid out in a tourist court in Fort Smith. In May of the next year, they were both gunned down in Bienville Parish. La. Bonnie was 23, Clyde 25.
  4. It’s illegal in Fort Smith and all of the state to mispronounce Arkansas while in Arkansas. It must be pronounced “Arkansaw,” the way we all pronounce it today. This is dumb, but not as dumb as these other laws in America:
  • In Alaska it’s illegal to get drunk in a bar.
  • You’ll get a $500 fine in Chico, Calif., if you build, maintain or use a nuclear weapon.
  • You are not allowed to sell your children in Florida.
  • In Gainesville, Ga., it’s illegal to eat fried chicken with a fork.
  • In French Lick Springs, In., if you own a black cat, you must tie a bell around its neck on Friday the 13th.
  • You can be cited in Nevada if you use an x-ray machine to determine someone’s shoe size.
  • It’s illegal to wrestle a bear in Oklahoma.

Happy anniversary, Fort Smith.  It would be interesting to see how you look a hundred years from now.

Nick Glidewell