Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Monday, August 14, 2017

Steamboat Arabia

Our last stop before leaving Kansas City was the Steamboat Arabia museum.  This is a fascinating story about the Hawley family, who operates a Heating and AC business that became interested in wrecked steamboats on the Missouri River. They started studying the history of wrecked steamboats and how to find them.  In total, they spent 20 years learning and searching for lost vessels.  The search was made more difficult because over the decades the river changed its course many times both naturally and thru the efforts of the Army Corps of Engineers to improve navigation.

Finally, they located a large vessel deep in the soil of a farm field miles from the current river location.  That wreck turned out to be the Arabia lost on its maiden voyage carrying a large amount of cargo and settlers up river.  No one lost their life in the wreck, but the ship and cargo was a total loss.

The Hawley’s plan was to salvage the wreck and sell whatever contents they could to offset their costs.  The farmer agreed to a small percentage to allow them to dig up his property.

It turned into a massive project beyond their original expectations.  What changed the whole scope of the project was the discovery of over 200 tons of perfectly preserved cargo that was a time capsule of life and goods of the time.  In the end, they decided that the recovered materials could not be just sold off for a profit, but needed to be persevered for history.

We were fortunate enough to have one of the family members, who led the search and recovery of the artifacts tell us their story.  He ended by saying that it seems like today, that the AC business is more a hobby and the museum and search for more vessels is their job.

Today, you can learn all about the Arabia and cargo and the lives of people who were on the edge of the American frontier at the time.  In the end, it is also the story of the family and friends who devoted so much of their time to finding and preserving this amazing history.

This is another must see museum.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Truman Library

On our free day in Kansas City, we headed to Independence, MO to visit the Truman Library.  I would venture to guess that if President Truman would walk down the streets today, it still would be very much as he remembered it.  We had lunch at a restaurant on main street that is well known for its German food, not to mention the great beer.

The library is just a few blocks from the home that he and his wife lived in all their married life, even returning here whenever possible while they were in Washington.  The exhibits provide insight to his personal and public lives.  He became president just before the end of WII on the death of President Roosevelt. He had many huge problems to address and had to make hard decisions.  He is the only leader, so far, who has made a decision to use a nuclear weapon.  The use of the nuclear bombs in Japan was estimated to save up to a million allied casualties. 

President Truman and his wife Bess are buried on the grounds.

For those interested in history, it is a must-see library.