Kansas City in Platte County, Missouri — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
On The River
In the 1860s, along a superhighway called the Missouri River, the traffic was heavy and the perils were great. The riverís fast and ever-changing currents made for a treacherous journey from St. Louis to what was then known as “the town of Kansas,” yet, as many as 60 riverboats regularly made the trip.
During the height of riverboat travel, as estimated 400 boats sank in the muddy, swirling Missouri waters. Some were victims of fires, some were toppled by high winds and others smashed by ice jams. But the most frightening peril of all was something called “snags.” These were the sunken remains of tree trunks that could pierce a hull and sink a ship in minutes.
At least 300 riverboats sank after being caught on snags, and perhaps the most famous of them all was the Steamboat Arabia. Built in 1853, the side-wheeler was 171 feet long. It traveled Missouriís swift currents at 6 to 7 miles an hour. In 1856, on a journey west, loaded to the limit with cargo and passengers, the Arabia hit a snag. While all of the passengers were saved, the 222 tons of cargo was swallowed up by the river.
Over the years, changing currents turned the area into fertile farmland. And it wasnít until 131 years later that the remains of the Arabia were finally located 45 feet under a cornfield. It took a year
Today, you can explore the remains, which includes everything from dinner dishes to intact jars of pickles, a working paddle wheel, as well as the lone casualty, a mule that had been tethered to the stern. The Steamboat Arabia Museum is located in the City Market area of Kansas City.
Erected by Kansas City International Airport. (Marker Number C6.)
Location. 39° 19.086′ N, 94° 41.799′ W. Marker is in Kansas City, Missouri, in Platte County. Touch for map. Marker is at Passenger Kiosk C6, in Economy Parking Lot C, at Kansas City International Airport, 601 Brasilia Avenue. Marker is in this post office area: Kansas City MO 64153, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lewis and Clark (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); One of KC's Oldest (about 300 feet away); The Garment District (about 400 feet away); Sweet Tooth (about 400 feet away); Thomas Hart Benton (about 400 feet away); All That Jazz (about 700 feet away); City of Fountains (about 800 feet away); Swope Park (about 800 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Kansas City.
More about this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Treasures of the Steamboat Arabia. (Submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Steamboats on the Missouri River. (Submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Upper Missouri River Steamboat List. (Submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers • Waterways & Vessels •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 336 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 7, 2011, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.