This day in 1856 wasn’t a particularly good day for those working on the steamboat Arabia.
The ship got caught on a fallen tree not far below the water’s surface, and while all of the people on board got away safely, the Arabia itself sank quickly.
And it wouldn’t be seen again until 1988, when it showed up in a cornfield in Kansas.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that shipwrecks are, y’know, underwater.
Most of them are.
But a few end up elsewhere.
The Arabia wrecked in a section of the Missouri River, or at least the Missouri River of 1856.
Then, as Atlas Obscura reported, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers changed the course of the river to speed up boat traffic.
The ship that had been lost at sea was now a half mile away from shore.
For decades people talked about trying to unearth the Arabia, most of them hoping for treasure, like gold, or barrels of Kentucky bourbon.
A group in the 1980s figured out where the ship was and asked the landowner’s permission to dig for it.
The owners agreed, as long as they finished digging and filled the land back in by spring planting time.
The ship was right where they thought, and its cargo was incredibly well preserved.
Even fragile items like bottles and reading glasses had survived.
There were jars of fruit preserves that were still edible over a century later!
The dig finished in early February 1989, and that site became farmland again.
But there are efforts to find and excavate other ships that sank in rivers but are now on land.
And the cargo from the Arabia is on display at the Arabia Steamboat Museum in Kansas City.
And yes, they’re open on Labor Day.
There are still plenty of classic cars out on the road, and a few are also on the water.
Floating Motors is a company that converts vintage autos into seaworthy vessels.
So if your dream is to take a Volkswagen bus out on the lake for Labor Day, your dream could come true.
How a Champagne-Laden Steamship Ended Up in a Kansas Cornfield (Atlas Obscura)
Floating Motors Turns Cars into Floating Cars (UrbanDaddy)