Fort Smith, named after Colonel Robert F. Smith, was erected in late September 1861 as 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 atop the newly created fortification on Prospect Hill. However the conflict was averted and by the spring of 1862, the Union troops at Fort Smith were downsized.
The fort was re-discovered in 2003. Amenities at Fort Smith Park include 3 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.
Fort Smith is open 9am – 5pm, 7 days a week, April 16th – October 14th. Closed October 15-April 15th.
- I-229 to Highland Exit (Exit 7) (north and southbound I-229)
Highland to Dewey, Right on Dewey, Dewey to Poulin, Right on Poulin, Poulin to Bellevue, Left on Bellevue, Continue on Bellevue to Parking Area at Fort Smith (Bellevue curves to the left and becomes Michel).
- I-229 to St. Joseph Avenue Exit (northbound I-229 only)
St. Joseph Avenue to Main, Left on Main, Main to Poulin, Left on Poulin, Poulin to Bellevue, Left on Bellevue, Continue on Bellevue to Parking Area at Fort Smith (Bellevue curves to
the left and becomes Michel).
- I-29 to Frederick Avenue Exit (Exit 47) (north and southbound I-29)
Frederick going West to Francis, Right on Francis, Francis to Main, Right on Main, Main to Poulin, Left on Poulin, Poulin to Bellevue, Left on Bellevue, Continue on Bellevue to Parking Area at Fort Smith (Bellevue curves to the left and becomes Michel).
GPS location: Lat 39.772934, Long -94.863282
Among the many local donors that have made this project a success, additional funding was secured through two grants one through the sponsorship of the St. Joseph Chapter/Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the second through a Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) grant, the only state-wide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. MHC has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.