The Steamboat Arabia
The Steamboat Arabia was a side-wheel steamer built in Brownsville, PA at the boat-yard of John S. Pringle in 1853. She measured 171 feet long and was capable of carrying 222 tons of cargo. The side-mounted 28-foot-tall paddlewheels could push the steamboat upstream at a speed of over 5 miles per hour. The Arabia was considered a dependable vessel and soon gained a reputation for speed, safety and comfort.
The Arabia traveled the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers before being purchased for $20,000 by Captain John Shaw of St. Charles, Missouri in February of 1855. Her first trip on the Missouri took her to Ft. Pierre, South Dakota with 109 soldiers from Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.
In the spring of 1856 the Arabia was sold to Captain William Terrill and George Boyd, both of St. Louis. During the 1856 season, the Arabia made at least 14 trips on the Missouri River. 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. Then she traveled an additional 700 miles to the Yellowstone River in western North Dakota. The trip took nearly three months to complete.