Grand Opening Scheduled For St Joe’s Newly-Discovered Civil War Park

Posted 9 months ago

By John P Tretbar

St Joe 150 Civil War CommemorationThe Civil War Sesquicentennial Committee of St. Joseph will host a Grand Opening of Fort Smith Park, a newly discovered and developed Civil War related, passive park in St. Joseph, on Friday August 2nd at 11:00 am.

Fort Smith, named after Colonel Robert F. Smith, was erected in late September 1861 as a safeguard against conflicting armies battling on either side of the state line.

With the strong possibility of battles reaching St. Joseph, Colonel Smith stood ready with his 2,500 troops and 12 cannon poised atop the newly created fortification on Prospect Hill.

However the conflict was averted and by the spring of 1862, the Union troops at Fort Smith were downsized.

Fort Smith is located at the Corner of Bellevue Street and W. Michel Street; GPS location: Lat 39.772934, Long -94.863282. For further information, go to http://www.stjomo.com/fortsmith/.

The event will include a welcome and introductions from Joe Houts, Jr., Chairman of the St. Joseph Civil War Committee, a welcome by Mayor Bill Faulkner, a brief history and background of the project by Bill McKinney of the St. Joseph Parks Department; Sarah Elder and Robert Ford of the St. Joseph Civil War Committee and a ribbon cutting, officially opening the Park to the public.

The fort was re-discovered in 2003. Amenities at Fort Smith Park include 3 full-scale authentic reproduction cannons, restored redoubts, a lookout point, period flags, informative signage, and an ordnance shed displaying illustrations of various types of artillery shells used in the conflict. The fort is a passive park, where visitors can come, relax, picnic and see a wonderful view of the city and beyond.

Among the many local donors that have made this project a success, additional funding was secured through two grants one through the sponsorship of the St. Joseph Chapter/Daughters of the American Revolution, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the second through a Missouri Humanities Council (MHC) grant, the only state-wide agency in Missouri devoted exclusively to humanities education for citizens of all ages. MHC has served as a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1971.