In the spring of 1856 the Arabia was sold to Captain William Terrill and William Boyd. During the 1856 season, the Arabia made at least 14 trips on the Missouri River. The steamboat Arabia was a side-wheel steamer built in Brownsville, PA in 1853. She measured 171 feet long and was capable of carrying 222 tons. Against the Missouri’s swift current, the twin 28-foot tall paddlewheels could push the steamboat upstream at a speed of over 5 miles an hour. The Arabia was considered a dependable vessel and soon gained a reputation for speed, safety and comfort. The poster shown here advertises her last trip, leaving St. Louis on August 30th, bound for “Kansas (present-day Kansas City, Mo), Weston, St. Joseph, Council Bluffs and Sioux City” as well as other towns along the way.
Without warning, the steamer’s thick, oak-hull was pierced by the end of the lethal snag. The impact was tremendous, catapulting the bow from the water, and throwing many of the shaken passengers to the floor. As the Arabia’s timbers gave way, the log was thrust into the heart of the boat. Water poured through the gaping hole and the Arabia began quickly sinking.
All aboard were saved except for a solitary, forgotten mule, tied to a piece of sawmill equipment on the stern. The river bottom was soft, and the boat and cargo sank quickly into the mud and silt. The next morning only the smokestacks and the top of the pilothouse remained visible. Even these disappeared in a few days, swept away by the tremendous force of the river.
The exhibit at the Arabia Steamboat Museum is open 7 days a week.
They are closed on the following holidays: New Years Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Closed an hour early on Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and New Years Eve.
10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Tours begin every half hour; last entry 3:30 pm.
12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Tours begin every half hour; last entry 3:30 PM.
Admission Rates: (subject to change)
Adults – $14.50
Seniors (60 and older) – $13.50
Children (ages 4 – 14) – $5.50
Children (3 and under) – Free
Groups rates: (25 or more) – $12.50
Guided tours include a short movie and explanation of the excavation process. Guests will see the treasures recovered from the Arabia and have the chance to watch preservationists restoring artifacts in the lab.