Circa 1861
FORT SMITH
Circa 2013
FORT SMITH PARK


Fort Smith, named after Colonel Robert F. Smith, was erected in September 1861
It was a safeguard against conflicting armies battling on either side of the state line
With the strong possibility of battles reaching St. Joseph, Colonel Smith stood ready with his 2,500 troops and 12 cannon poised on the new fortification on Prospect Hill
By spring of 1862, the Union troops at Fort Smith were downsized
Fort Smith Park has full-scale authentic reproduction cannons, restored redoubts, a lookout point, period flags, informative signage, and an ordnance shed displaying illustrations of various types of artillery shells used in the conflict. The fort is a passive park, where visitors can come, relax, picnic and see a wonderful view of the city and beyond
The park is bounded by Prosect Avenue, Bellevue Street and West Michel
Hours open: Daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. between April 16th and Oct. 14th
DIRECTIONS ON HOW TO GET TO FORT SMITH PARK
(the park is fairly close to Wyeth Hill Park)
#1 - If you are going south on I-229. take the Highland Exit (Exit 7)
#2 - Turn north on MAIN STREET, continue north to Poulin
#3 - Turn WEST on Poulin & continue to Bellevue (middle of long hill)
#4 - Turn SOUTH on Bellevue & continue to the Parking Area (1 block)
(Bellevue curves to the left and becomes Michel)
or if you are able to find Prospect, go SOUTH until you come to Michel where Prospect pretty much ends, turn WEST on Michel and the parking lot is over the hill on the south side


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THE NEED FOR STREET SIGNS

At Bellevue & Michel a lonely pole stands with the street signs
The long stone wall looks to be from Civil War days, it is pretty old & dirty

The city needs to install some new street signs in the entire area. On the way to the park we noticed that many intersections did not have any street signs at all, some were in very bad condition or had letters missing
That's not good for out of town visitors trying to find their way to the Fort
(of course it's like that all over town anymore)






APPROACHING THE HILL

This is what you see as you approach the area from Bellevue Street
The street Mithel continues over the hill and dead ends into Prospect Avenue






THE HILL AND THE FORT SMITH SIGN

This is what you see as you approach the area from Bellevue Street






THE PARK ENTRANCE & THE HILL

If you approach via Bellevue Street, the sight you will see as you turn onto Michel






THE MAIN PARKING LOT

As you turn the corner onto Michel, the parking lot is on the south corner
It is a mostly a gravel (chat) parking lot, one vehicle deep and it looks to be about long enough to hold possibly 6 to 8 vehicles






THE PARKING LOT & THE ROAD UP

This is the general public parking lot
From this parking lot, you must walk up an asphalt road to the top of the hill
Only vehicles with Handicap permits are allowed to drive up the road
A posted sign reads "No Vehicles Other Than Handicap Beyond This Point"






HANDICAP PARKING & THE ROAD UP

They have parking for the handicapped at the top of the hill
The green sign next to the road states "Open from 6 am to 8 pm"






RESTORATION OF FORT SMITH
& THE FORT SMITH SIGN
Fort creation date of 1861

Fort Smith was built in 1861 by the Union Army to protect the city and Union troops in case St. Joseph was ever invaded by Confederate forces
The fort itself was built up 30 feet as a redoubt which is an enclosed mounting made of soil and rock
Restoration of the fort has been 10 years in the making and the city has now made Fort Smith a public park
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis







WALKING AROUND THE HILL TOP

I went on a photo shoot on Aug 9, 2013 and took these following photos
All sides are shown except for due south, nothing but trees there
The last photo is the driveway heading back down the hill
There is only room for 3 handicap cars, 4 at the most at the top of the hill
ONLY HANDICAPS ARE ALLOWED TO PARK ON TOP OF THE HILL
Pretty tight quarters parking wise, a 4th car came today and had no place to park
So he parked behind me, not a handicap........... Hey, let me out I told him






A 10 POUNDER PARROTT RIFLE STANDING GUARD

The Parrott rifle was a type of muzzle loading rifled artillery weapon used extensively in the American Civil War
The fort was erected by soldiers, slaves, prisoners and Southern sympathizers
The earthwork that's there today is the original from 152 years ago
The fort was only in operation for three years
The fort was erected for better control of the border after the Union Army stationed itself in St. Joseph at the Patee House
Its vantage point provides both north and south views of the Missouri River, as well as Downtown St. Joseph
It was a natural place for the army to keep it's 12 cannons
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis







A 12 POUNDER PARROTT RIFLE STANDING GUARD

This is a 12 pounder Parrott rifle overlooking the city

Founders of the forgotten landmark, plus more than 100 members of the public, celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting on Friday August 2, 2013
The Border War Society is an organization that helped discover Fort Smith and Fort Smith's role in the Civil War
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis







OVERLOOKING DOWNTOWN ST JOSEPH

This is a view of Downtown St Joseph Missouri as seen from the top of Fort Smith
Today, the fort contains three full-scale cannons. These canons were made by the same company that produced the cannons at Gettysburg
Period flags and an ordnance shed with illustrations of artillery shells used during the war are displayed
The group hopes to add three additional cannons to the park, as well as some original artillery
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis







OVERLOOKING WIRE ROPE CORPORATION

This is a view of Downtown St Joseph as seen from the top of Fort Smith
Wire Rope seems to dominate the scene with the downtown buildings in the background
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis







FLAGS FLYING AT FORT SMITH

Three flags of the period are flying on the top of the hill
They are exact reproductions as those flying in 1861
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis







FORT SMITH INFORMATION MARKER

Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis






GRAND OPENING BROCHURE
OF FORT SMITH PARK

Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis






THE OPENING CEREMONIES
OF FORT SMITH PARK
AUGUST 2, 2013

Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis






ST JOSEPH & FORT SMITH IN 1868

Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis






A CONFEDERATE SYMPATHIZER
MR. TERRY McGINNIS
TAKING A BREAK

Thanks for submitting your photos Terry!!
Photo submitted by Terry McGinnis





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Feel free to email me with any comments or questions
Rick Drozd - rickdrozd@gmail.com


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