Fort Smith: Top 10 True Western Towns of 2017!

December 29, 2016

FORT SMITH, Ark. – The Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) is proud to announce that Fort Smith has once again been designated as one of the Nation’s, “Top 10 True Western Towns,” by True West Magazine. Fort Smith secured the #1 designation in 2013 and has consistently remained one of the top 5 designated destinations ever since. Fort Smith will be featured alongside Deadwood, South Dakota—the 2017 top honor—and 8 other destinations in the February 2017 issue, which hits newsstands on January 3.

“We are honored to be the only city that has remained in the top 5 for the last five consecutive years,” said Carolyn Joyce, Tour & Travel Sales Director at Fort Smith CVB. Out of the thousands of towns that exist in the American West, True West defines the Top 10 True Western Towns as those that stand out when it comes to exemplifying the spirit and dedication of the pioneers who built and developed them. “Fort Smith is one of the great names of the Old West—a legendary place—especially in terms of outlaws and lawmen,” said True West Executive Editor Bob Boze Bell.

Historic sites like Miss Laura’s Visitors Center—the first former bordello to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places—attract thousands of Old West enthusiasts to Fort Smith, each year. In fact, the Fort Smith National Historic Site was designated as one of the Nation’s, “2016 Top 50 Historic Places Worth Travelling For,” by FlipKey (a TripAdvisor Company) based off of online consumer research and reviews. There, visitors can visit Judge Isaac C. Parker’s famous courtroom, walk through the jail outlaws knew as Hell on the border, see a replica of the Fort Smith Gallows and more. In May, Fort Smith Western Heritage Month helps visitors and locals alike relive the heritage through one of the largest rodeos in the region, mounted shooting and cutting horse competitions, gunfight reenactments, special exhibits and art galleries, plus many other events. And the Fort Smith Museum of History displays 42,000 artifacts related to local history, dating back to the Fort’s founding 200 years ago. These are just a few of the things that contribute to Fort Smith being selected as a Top Western Town.

“As Fort Smith continues to build a bright future, this honor shows that we still have a deep respect of our history,” said Claude Legris, Executive Director at Fort Smith CVB. “While some communities see their histories fade away, we continue to celebrate ours with the same pioneer spirit of days gone by, and it’s gratifying to see that True West recognizes these efforts.”

Editors base their selection on criteria demonstrating how each town has preserved its history through old buildings, museums and other institutions, events, and promotions of historic resources. “These winners all honor the past and celebrate the present,” said Bell. “In doing those things, these towns have a very bright future—and deserve to be visited by all folks who treasure the Old West.”

True West magazine is in its 65th year of leading the way in presenting the true stories of Old West adventure, history, culture, and preservation.

For more information, contact Fort Smith CVB Communications Manager, Russ Jester, at or 479.783.8888. For subscriptions and information pertaining to True West magazine visit, call 888-687-1881, or contact Mark Boardman at

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