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Thursday, August 25, 2016

McClure Amphitheater overlooking Fort Smith, Arkansas by Joyce Faulkner

McClure Amphitheater

While in Arkansas recently, Pat and I visited this stone amphitheater which was once part of Camp Chaffee near Fort Smith -- and is now a stunning feature of the new Chaffee Crossing community. As the story goes, Colonel George W. McClure  was charged with training a rowdy group of soldiers who loved visiting the bars in Fort Smith. Tired of dealing with the results of the young soldiers' parties, the Colonel decided to put them to work building a training facility on the side of a hill overlooking south Fort Smith.  Sure enough, Worn out from the heavy work in the Arkansas heat, the men began spending their evenings in their bunks.

The Amphitheater was built with native stone.

The army used the completed amphitheater as a classroom for any number of military topics including map making and reading. As time passed and Fort Chaffee's mission changed, the facility wasn't used as much and fell into disrepair.

Rehabilitated after sixty years and developed as a venue for weddings and other events, the site is beautiful and historic. Maintained as a City of Fort Smith park, it is a special place with a magnificent view of Ben Geren Park and South Fort Smith. 

Whether you are a citizen of the area or just passing through, it's worth the short drive to enjoy it. 

The address is: 7201 Massard Road, Fort Smith, AR 72916.

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