On September 5, 1856, a sidewheeler carrying 130 passengers and 200 tons of cargo sank upriver from Kansas City. Not until 1988 did treasure hunters extract the vessel (one of 289 swallowed by the Missouri River) from 45ft of mud and water. The cargo-Wedgwood china, brandied cherries, tobacco, cognac, doorknobs, pickles, boots, guns, clothing and other pioneer needs-is now on display as a living time capsule. A 14min video tells the Arabia's story; a replica paddlewheel demonstrates the boat's operation. Half the cargo is still in barrels; visitors can watch it being cleaned (the job won't be done before 2025) and chat with the men who recovered it. The Arabia anchors one side of City Market, a historic district at Kansas City's 19C riverport. Brick buildings contain restaurants, a brewpub and stores selling everything from antiques to avant-garde art to Asian spices. On weekends, farmers bring fresh produce to sell.
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