Tomorrow marks the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Downtown Kansas City. The Independence family who found the packet steamer in 1988 were proprietors of a heating and cooling business, but they had long been interested in buried treasure. They eventually turned their focus to sunken steamboats along the Missouri River, and identified eight possible digs before ruling out all but one: The Arabia. Their plan, in the beginning, was to salvage and sell items from any sunken boats they might find. But when patriarch Bob Hawley unearthed a set of Wedgewood china at the Arabia excavation site in November 1988, it sparked new thoughts for Hawley, his sons David and Greg, and dig partners Jerry Mackey and David Luttrell. Beyond the literal riches of antebellum dinnerware, clothing, hardware, shoes, toys, beads, food items, guns, and more, the treasure hunters realized their most valuable find was the chronicle of 19th-century history that they had unearthed. “During a partner’s meeting, we unanimously decided the most priceless thing discovered aboard the Arabia was not the cargo, but the story it told,” Greg Hawley wrote in his book, Treasure in a Cornfield. Four years, and more than a million and a half dollars after David Hawley first located the Arabia in a cornfield in 1987, the doors opened to the Arabia Steamboat Museum on November 13, 1991, in the City Market.
To celebrate the museum’s three decades of operation, admission this Saturday will revert to 1991 ticket prices: adults: $5.50, seniors: $5, children ages 4-12: $3.25 and children 3 and under are free.
Twenty-two years ago this week, Kansas City’s Union Station re-opened after years of abandonment, neglect, and concern for its future. With the decrease of rail passenger traffic beginning mid-century, the station—which at times witnessed up to 200 trains per day—began a decades-long period of decline, eventually closing in 1985. Concerned citizens and preservation groups launched a campaign to save the station in the 1990s, culminating in a bi-state tax that passed in 1996. Private donations and the federal government added funds. The $250 million renovation began in 1997 and was completed when the station re-opened its doors on November 10, 1999.
Mayor Quinton Lucas is optimistic about federal funding for the proposed deck and urban park to be built over the South Loop freeway, connecting the Central Business District with the Crossroads area. The “South Loop Link” would be patterned after Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, built over a freeway in that city. (I spent time at that park a few years ago, and didn’t even realize at the time that there were cars racing through the city below.) Kevin Collison of CityScene has the full story about KC’s proposed Downtown project:
The spot recently vacated by Bo Ling’s in the City Market already has a new tenant ready to move in. The popular Midtown restaurant, Ragazza, will open a Mediterranean-inspired dining spot called Enzo. Joyce Smith of the Kansas City Star tells more:
Artful City: One weekly selection from a Downtown artist, gallery, or museum
Quick Clip: The city in motion—just a few seconds at a time in GIF form
Downtown Lens: A single image depicting life around the Loop
Give a friendly Downtown-Kansas City welcome to….
The NCAA 2021 D2 Central Region Men’s Basketball Challenge, including Washburn, Pittsburg State, Missouri Western, and the defending national champions and current #1 Northwest Missouri Bearcats, among others. Begins tonight and runs through Sunday at Municipal Arena.
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