Fort Smith is located in Sebastian County and it is the county seat. It lies west of Van Buren on the Oklahoma border, on the banks of the Arkansas River near Oklahoma.
Fort Smith, established in 1817 on a bluff at the confluence of the Arkansas and Poteau rivers, was named after General Thomas Smith at the federal garrison in St. Louis. The outpost saw a settlement form gradually around its walls. The site was well-known by hunters and trappers as the location for annual trade gatherings with Native Americans.
Fort Smith, population 80,268, enjoys a diversified economic base. Some of the city's top employers are Georgia-Pacific/Dixie Cup, Whirlpool Corporation and Planters Peanuts Company. Attractions include the Fort Smith Historic Site, which has recently completed a $7.5 million restoration; the Hangman House, home of George Maledon who hanged 70 outlaws; and the Arkansas River Queen, a 146-passenger paddle wheeler.
Fort Smith is part of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma metro area.