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This week in Fort Smith History: Dec. 27 - Jan. 2

Times Record

Dec. 27, 1912 — The Reynolds-Davis Grocery Company hosts a holiday banquet for their families and invited guests at the Goldman Hotel.

Dec. 29, 1998 — Ground is broken for a $28.5 million expansion of the Fort Smith Civic Center.

Dec. 29, 1999 — In just 24 hours, more than 11 inches of snow falls in Fort Smith.

Dec. 30, 1959 — Lt. Col. William Stanton, squadron commander of the 184th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Fort Smith, is killed in a car wreck.

Dec. 31, 1911 — The Goldman Hotel hosts a New Year’s Eve party with dinner and dancing. The Southwest American states, “Fort Smith’s social world will center at the Goldman Hotel.”

Dec. 31, 1971 — Gladys L. Krone retires after 20 years as librarian of the Fort Smith Public Library.

Dec. 31, 1997 — Downtown New Year's Eve celebration includes dropping a lighted ball from Garrison Avenue bridge onto Harry E. Kelley Park as a Christmas light display in the park is darkened.

Jan. 1, 1807 — Four years after Arkansas Territory is included in the Louisiana Purchase, explorer Lt. James Wilkinson notes Belle Point in passing on his eastward exploration of the Arkansas River.

Jan. 1, 1908 — Fort Smith opens the first Carnegie Library in Arkansas.

Jan. 1, 2002 — The merger of Westark College and the University of Arkansas becomes official, and Westark is renamed the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith and becomes a four-year institution.

Jan 2, 1919 — Col. William Cravens dies after a lengthy illness. His funeral is held at his home at North 15th and B streets two days later and he is laid to rest at Forest Park Cemetery. Cravens was a Civil War veteran and an attorney who long had a law practice with Col. Ben. T. Duvall.

Jan 2, 1944 — A fire damages the Yantis-Harper Tire Company at 1121 Garrison Ave.

Jan. 2, 2003 — A historic building on Produce Row at 13-15 N. Second St. goes up in flames. The 33,000-square-foot structure had been Reynolds Wholesale Grocer and later RMB Produce; it was being renovated for downtown development.