Fort Smith's First Ice Cream Parlor 
From: Weaver Papers: Antebellum Fort Smith. The University of Arkansas. Fayetteville. Mullins Library .
Submitted by Jack James



Mr. Girards Photo below courtesy of the Lavaca Historical Museum
Another man who built a house in Fort Smith in the territorial days was Mr. Girard. His given name, I believe, was Jules. He was a Frenchman who, on his arrival in America, settled in New Orleans. He made his advant into this country as a peddler, traveling among and sellin ghis goods almoste exclusively to the people of the neighboring Indian tribes. He did not bring his family to Fort Smith for several years after he began the business of intinerant merchant. When Captain Rogers bought the land that lay north of Garrison Avenue he bought a lot on th river's bank and built the house on it in which for many years he conducted a confectionery store and sold ice cream during the summer months. It is said that his ice cream was the first ever made in the town. His family occupied part of the building. This house was about half a block north of Garrison Avenue. It stood for many years, in fact, for a long time after the war between the states. There still are a few of the old timers ( I am among them) who retain very pleasant recollections of Mr. Girard's confectioneries and ice cream. When this house was in the process of demolition, I was told by several parties who appeared to know what they were talking about that it hasd been built before the fort was erected in 1838 and 1845. Mr. Ed Girard of Fort Smith is the son of the genial old Frenchmen.