Treasures of the Steamboat Arabia

TIME CAPSULE OF THE AMERICAN FRONTIER

 Arabia Museum

Kansas City MO

In September of 1856, the steamboat Arabia was making her way up the Missouri River bound for Council Bluffs, Iowa. Aboard the packet were 130 passengers, and goods to restock store shelves for sale to families on the frontier. Near present day Kansas City, at a place called Quindaro Bend, the Arabia hit a submerged log or snag, tearing a hole in her hull. Within 5 minutes, the boat sank. Fortunately, there was no loss of life, save for a mule tied on the deck.

In 1987 the Hawley’s, an enterprising Kansas City family, and friends located and excavated the wreck, which was now buried 45 feet below the surface in a farmer’s field. They began as treasure hunters, but the discovery of the Arabia turned them into historians, and museum curators, with their Steamboat Arabia Museum housing the largest collection of artifacts of its type in the world.

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© 2005-18 by George W. Bernheimer

Some photographs courtesy of
Surface and Surface Photography
Yellow Wood Photography