2017 Trip Two: Tour of Texas March 8

Forrest City, Arkansas March 8

Shades of Saskatchewan. For those of you who have been following this blog for a long, long time may remember the flat tire we had on the plains of Saskatchewan on a Saturday afternoon. We just made the service department of Canada Tire in time to have the spare tire replaced before they closed for the Canada Day weekend.

Car repairs in Little Rock, Arkansas

Well today around 3:30 PM we hit a piece of broken truck tire, actually the third or fourth piece of tire, we encountered on I-40 in central Arkansas. The tire apparently knocked out our fog light and jarred loose the front right bumper. We made it to the Little Rock Subaru in time for them to fix the fog light (a broken bracket holding the light, the light itself was ok), re-attach the bumper, and get our next 6,000 mile service check done between 4:45 and 6:15 PM. (The service department closes at 6 PM.) Way to go Subaru.

The consequences were: we got our service check done now, the cost was minimal, we demonstrated our flexibility by canceling one night’s lodging, the planned activities for Thursday to lodge here in Forrest City Arkansas, and we are likely to be able to walk the trails at Tombigbee State Park near Tupelo Mississippi.

So what did we do today? Well, Fort Scott National Historic Site was the sole focus, other than driving. Fort Scott was a fort based on the Kansas-Missouri border. It was only in operation from 1842 to 1873. It had four main purposes. They were, in sequence, guaranteeing land for Indian tribes from white settlers, trying to keep the peace during the “Bleeding Kansas” era, establishing a base of operations during the Civil War, and protecting the expanding railroads from Indian attacks.

Fort Scott was one of numerous forts built from Minneosta to Louisiana. Their purpose was to protect Indian Tribes and the lands they were guaranteed from white settlers. It actually worked for a while, until gold was found in California, Texas was annexed, and the “Manifest Destiny” theory became reality as settlers just poured westward. Indians became even more restricted to the least desirable lands and Fort Scott was abandoned in 1853.

Officers’ quarters at Fort Scott National Historic Site

Bleeding Kansas refers to the period when US legislation allowed the people in the territory of Kansas to determine if the state would allow or prohibit slavery. Three groups emerged. Abolitionists wanted to get rid of slavery everywhere. Proslavers wanted slavery obviously. Free-staters did not object to slavery but just did not want it here. Violence broke out and 1858 soldiers returned to Fort Scott to try to control the violence. Eventually Kansas was entered into the US as a free state in January 1861.

So, 1861. The Civil war starts up. The US Army returns to Fort Scott and the fort was a storehouse for Union Armies, was a hospital for soldiers, and a refuge for people in distress. The Confedertes made two efforts to capture Fort Scott, but failed.

After the war, railroads began their westward expansion. Soldiers were recalled to Fort Scott to protect railroad workers from landowners who did not want the railroad crossing their land. By 1873 the railroads were completed and Fort Scott was permanently closed down.

The lobby of the Courtland Hotel at Fort Scott

We left Fort Scott, the town and the historic site, and our lodging at the Courtland Hotel. The hotel was a pleasant old hotel in downtown Fort Scott. The current owner has been here for 12 years, we congratulated him for running a samll business in a struggling area. The hotel was pleasant and well maintained.

Ed and Chris. Forrest City Arkansas

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