Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Treasure of the Steamboat Arabia

Arabia Sunk

The steamer Arabia bound for Council Bluffs struck a snag about a mile below Parkville and sunk to the boiler deck.  Boat and cargo a total loss. 

Kansas City Enterprise
September 6, 1856

Rumors were that the boat carried gold.  Other claims was the boat was carrying rifles, Queensware and even some claimed it carried fine Kentucky bourbon.  There was hardly any time to save the passengers, let alone save the cargo when the boat struck a submerged tree floating the the river channel.  

Over the years the river changed it's course and channel and eventually the Arabia was hidden under 45 feet of earth and one half mile from the river's edge.  In 1988 someone found an old river map that lead to the location of the buried treasure.  The necessary machinery was called to the spot and men went to work to recover the remnants of the boat and whatever treasure the boat was carrying. 

You can experience this adventure at a 30,000 square foot museum filled with wonderful artifacts of the era in excellent condition.  Touring the museum is like looking back in time and how people lived and the necessary tools and goods that made their lives possible on the frontier. 

My wife and I on a recent trip to Kansas City, spent the majority of the afternoon in the museum and gazed at the many displays of the goods and wonderful artifacts found on the boat.  In addition, one of the treasure hunters was there.  In a small auditorium, he gave and excellent presentation about what it took to look for buried treasure, the cost that each family suffered, and the rewards they reaped.  xx

Below is a series of photos we took on our tour.

The displays are reminiscent of the period and reflect the meticulous care that was taken in the restoration.  You can visit their website at

Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank
Hammacher Schlemmer Bass Pro Shops



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