This morning we crossed into Arkansas and visited Fort Smith National Historic Site:
Fort Smith was initially built in the early 1800s to provide a US presence in the area and tasked primary with preventing warfare between local Indians and Eastern Indians forced by US policy to resettle in this area. By the 1870s, the main building was being used as a jail and courthouse:
The Fort Smith courtroom:
The gallows. 79 people were hanged here between 1875 and 1896:
I didn’t get to see much of the site, as I spent most of our visit speaking with the ranger, a part-Lenape Indian, about the repeated relocations that caused his New Jersey-based tribe to end up with scattered holdings in northeastern Oklahoma.
The kids completed their Junior Ranger workbooks and received their badges:
Our next stop was Crater of Diamonds State Park, the world’s only diamond mine open to the public:
The visitor center was interesting:
I had a few phone errands to run, so I stayed in the RV while Trish and the kids went out to the dig area:
With an average ore richness of one diamond per 45 tons of mined earth, I suppose it’s not too surprising that after a couple hours of work they came up empty:
Back at the RV, one of the tires wasn’t quite round. I suspect a belt broke within the tire, so we swapped it out with the spare:
From here, we drove north to the Bear Creek Campground, an Army Corps of Engineers campground on Lake Greeson. As far as I can tell, we’re here before the start of the fee season for the campground.