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Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Only 3 years old when it sank in the Missouri River, the Arabia was eventually forgotten by time only to be discovered by an enterprising team of adventurers, who located the merchant boat under a farm half a mile from the present path of the river.  Artifacts found are now a museum in Kansas City, MO.

Editor’s Note:  Today, this blog reports from Missouri.  It’s the first in a series of occasional articles resulting from a recent summer trek across Mid-America.

ARTIFACTS NOW A MUSEUM--Built in 1853 in Brownsville, PA., the Arabia was a side-wheel steamer, carrying passengers and 222 tons of cargo. On September 5th, 1856, near Quindaro Bend, near the town of Parkville, Missouri, the steamer hit a sunken walnut tree snag and within minutes much of the boat and virtually all 222 tons of frontier cargo lay at the bottom of the Missouri River.

Over the years, all traces of the riverboat disappeared from the river and its exact sinking site was lost.  In 1987, the wreck was discovered by Bob Hawley and his sons, Greg and David (and friends) lying under a farm more than a one-half mile from the river's edge and buried 45 feet underground.

Boxes, barrels and crates of frontier merchandise that held both the necessities and the luxuries available in 1856, are now on display in the Steamboat Arabia Museum at 400 Grand Blvd., in Kansas City, MO, the museum also offers a gift shop.   816-471-1856.

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