Select Traveler

SEP-OCT 2013

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Courtesy Arkansas Parks and Tourism and a stairway upstairs, where nine well-kept rooms accommodated her girls' guests. It's hard to exaggerate how untamed Fort Smith was in the 1800s and early 1900s. Te fort played a major role in establishing law and order for the American West. Native Americans were being displaced and moved westward at the same time that white settlers migrated there. Confict was never far away. At the Fort Smith National Historic Site, guide Larry Loux told us that city is perennially ranked at the top of those that are protecting their Western heritage. "Te Osage and Cherokee were moved west through here into Oklahoma during Andrew Jackson's removal of the Indians," he said. "Te Trail of Tears came through Fort Smith. Zachary Taylor kept a house here during the Mexican War before he was elected president in 1848." One of the biggest lives lived there belonged to Judge Isaac C. Parker, "the hanging judge," whose job it was to keep order in this outlaw territory. On the bench from 1875 until 1896, Parker eschewed his nickname and maintained that he never wanted to see anyone hang. Nevertheless, nearly 90 men did hang under his authority, and a reproduction gallows now stands at the site. An equally compelling character who patrolled that territory was Bass Reeves, an African-American slave born nearby in 1838 who fought with his master and fed into Native American territory to escape punishment. "Reeves became a lawman," interpreter T. Baridi Nkokhelli told us. "He caught more than 3,000 fugitives out here and once brought in 17 by himself. He killed more than 20 men but always maintained he acted in self-defense. He was strict. He once arrested his own pastor for selling alcohol to the Indians." Upon leaving Fort Smith, we visited the Drennen-Scott House in Van Buren before boarding the Arkansas Missouri Railroad for an afternoon ride to Springdale, just outside Bentonville. We enjoyed lunch, served with a choice of wines, and relaxed as we clicked along through forests and valleys. Courtesy Fort Smith CVB Top: A contemporary art gallery at Crystal Bridges. Bottom: Carolyn Joyce plays the part of Miss Laura in Fort Smith. 28 BANK TRAVEL M A N A G E M E N T FROM WAL-MART TO FINE ART Any discussion of groups traveling to Bentonville can be largely attributed to Sam Walton. While that progressive city has become a destination since Walton's death, his vision for building WalMart into a global retailing giant remains the source for nearly all that has transpired there since. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art was founded by his daughter, Alice Walton, because she had seen the world's fnest art museums and believed that Arkansas deserved one. Designed S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 3

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