Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Arabia Steamboat - The Ultimate Rusty Stuff!

Our next stop was Kansas City, where we went to the Arabia Steamboat Museum. On its last journey, the Arabia left Saint Louis in 1856, bound for Omaha.

Ten miles north of Kansas City, she hit a log snag and sank in 15 feet of water. The 130 passengers and crew survived, but the Arabia and her 200-ton cargo were lost to the river.

132 years later, in 1988, five steamboat enthusiasts from the Kansas City area successfully recovered the Arabia and her cargo. The river had changed course since 1856, so the ship was recovered in a field.

Amazingly, one of those 5 enthusiasts was in the museum the day we were there, and told us many great stories.

The museum is full of pieces of the ship, and tons of the cargo, including one of the 2 28-foot paddle-wheels.

And the stern, including the rudder.

The 200-ton cargo consisted of thousands of items intended for the settlements of the American frontier.

Kitchen items -

Tools -

Even lots and lots of shoes. These pictures are just a sampling of what is in the museum.

The only life lost on the ship was that of a mule. The skeleton was found tied to a lumber mill jack on the boat's stern.


  1. Looks like some rusty stud, too. 😀

  2. You have to admire the determination and resolve of enthusiasts like these. Poor old mule a pity no one had time to untie hime so he could try to swim away.

  3. I've read about this ship before and seen pictures of the cargo. How'd you like to be the person that cleaned up all those artifacts of mud before putting them on display? I'm blown away by all the boots and shoes that survived all those years and look like they could be worn today.

  4. Looks like an interesting place to visit. Thanks for sharing.

  5. That's just like the Bertram, I thick it was, that we saw north of Omaha. Amazing all that stuff they recovered.

  6. It breaks my heart that no one was thoughtful enough to set the mule free..How sad!

  7. Can you tell we are all a bunch of animal lovers. The poor mule. I think it's exciting that one of the guys was there to tell you stories about the recovery work.

  8. Amazing story about the recovery. What a job it must have been to clean and catagorize all the stuff aboard. Maybe the weight of it had something to do with the sinking. I feel sorry for the mule, too.

  9. Fascinating ... especially how it sank in water and was recovered in a field.

  10. Yes, absolutely fascinating! How interesting to see what kinds of things were being shipped to the settlements. And all in seemingly wonderful condition. I guess if the mule hadn't been tied up, he could probably have saved himself by swimming to shore. What a neat piece of history. :)


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