Fort Smith National Historic Site prepares for installation of new flagpole

National Park Service News Release
For Immediate Release: August 24, 2021
Contact: Lisa Frost, 479-769-0667

Fort Smith, AR — The replica Garrison flagpole in the center of the parade grounds at Fort Smith NHS, that was installed in the early 1980’s, is planning to be replaced next week with a new reproduction of the original built by the U.S. Army in 1846. Historically, the flagpole was the center of life at the fort, and today it serves as a centerpiece and point of reference for the park and downtown Fort Smith area. It is the first thing you see when you cross the Garrison Street bridge coming from Oklahoma and has an abundance of historical significance to the Second Fort era of the site.

From 1846-1871 soldiers trained, drilled, and performed ceremonies on the parade ground. A quarter mile of sidewalk surrounds the parade ground today. The replica 37-star flag is the final flag known to have been flown by the army at the fort from 1867-71. As with many western military posts, the flagstaff stood tall so that its flag could be seen for miles. To attain a height of nearly 100 feet, the flagstaff builders joined two poles in the same way that ship masts were built. Shroud lines attached to crosstrees supported the area where the poles were joined, while guidelines and an underground wooden structure stabilized the base.

Removal of the current flagpole, via a large crane, will take place tomorrow morning, August 25th, which is the National Park Service’s 105th birthday. The installation of the new flagpole will take place next week at a date to be determined. For more information, please contact Superintendent Lisa Frost at 479-769-0667 or via email at lisa_conard_frost@nps.gov.
For other park updates and information, please visit our park website at www.nps.gov/fosm or follow us on social media via Facebook and Instagram.

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