The site, located in downtown Fort Smith, embraces the remains of two frontier forts and the Federal Court for the Western District of Arkansas. A building that now houses the park's visitors center was first used in the early 1800s as barracks for Army troops sent to keep peace and administer government policies over Native American Tribes. In 1872 the building became a federal courthouse and its jail soon became known as "Hell on the Border." Today, the historic courthouse and jail building have been restored and its visitors center includes exhibits that focus on: Fort Smith's military history from 1817 to 1871; "Hangin' Judge" Isaac C. Parker and the federal court's impact on Indian Territory; U.S. Deputy Marshals and outlaws; Federal Indian policy; and Indian Removal including the Trail of Tears. The park also contains a reconstruction of the 1886 gallows on the original site used for executions from 1873 to 1896. Maintained trails lead visitors through this urban park and along the site of the first fort and the Arkansas River.