Good afternoon! Day three of closure due to COVID-19 precautions brings into the spotlight, a focus on our artifact collection. The Fort Smith Museum of History houses nearly 40,000 artifacts! As we rally 'round one another in spirit and in support of "social distancing", I thought it appropriate to highlight the City of Fort Smith Flag. Delightfully, you'll notice, the original motto reads, "All For One, One For All", a Latin phrase made famous as the motto of the "The Three Musketeers", a novel by the nineteenth-century French author Alexandre Dumas, and the unofficial motto of Switzerland. As we weather this storm, it is a nice reminder that the City of Fort Smith saw fit to include a motto of togetherness and solidarity on our original city flag. The flag housed in the FSMH collection predates the city flag dedicated in May 1916 at Stadium Park, what was then a new sports venue at South 9th Street and Carnall. On the outer ring on the original flag is a seal surrounded by a five-pointed star, set horizontally on either side at the midpoints. The ring was later omitted from the seal, perhaps in the 1912-1913 civic government transition? The seal itself, commissioned before the Civil War, is still the official seal of the City of Fort Smith. Although the current flag no longer carries the "All For One, One For All" motto, the city flag can still be seen flying above our newest park, "Gateway Park", a park honoring the citizens involved in our early healthcare, education, and justice systems.
The flag housed in the FSMH collection is currently in storage, as it's fragile and in need of conservation, evident in the photo below. The motto, still clear and strong.
What do the colors and symbolism mean? "The flag displays the city's state and national allegiances in its colors and seal. The city seal bears elements from the state seal such as the state's motto, "Regnat Populus" or "The People Rule." The red, white and blue elements represent Fort Smith's loyalty to the United States. According to the flag's dedication speech, gold is meant to symbolize the city's solidity."