Walks Through History: Camp Chaffee Historic District
The area now known as the Camp Chaffee Historic District was originally part of Fort Chaffee Army Base in Fort Smith and Barling. Established in 1941, Fort Chaffee has served as an army training camp, a prisoner of war camp, and a refugee camp over the years. In 1995, the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) included Fort Chaffee Army Base. The closure of the base resulted in the majority of the land being leased to the Arkansas National Guard, and 7,000 acres being given back to the community. Two museums here give a glimpse into the history. The Vietnam Veterans Museum highlights those who served and the Chaffee Barbershop Museum, with restored World War II army barbershop, is where Elvis Presley got his famous G.I. haircut in 1958. Fort Chaffee also has a bit of Hollywood history. A Soldier’s Story (1984), Biloxi Blues (1988), and The Tuskegee Airmen (1995) were all filmed at Fort Chaffee.