Fort Smith used to be the wild west of Arkansas. Fort Smith was originally a military outpost that had as its main goal to stop the Cherokee Indians and the Osage Indians to go to war against one another, since the Cherokee had been forced into the Osage' land. The first fort was founded on christmas day 1817. The actual fort was abandoned in 1824 and not re-occupied until 1838 but in the time being a small town was building up around the fort. The second fort of Fort Smith was built in the 1840's because of the fear of that indians would go to war against the settlers in Arkansas. The fort was also used for storage and as a outpost for military expeditions, adventurers and gold seekers. After the civil war Fort Smith started to loose its importance and in 1871 the forts were abandoned but instead the US Court for the western district of Arkansas was moved from Van Buren to Fort Smith. One year later the one of the forts came into use again, but not for military. Instead it was used as a court room and a jail.