In the late 19th century, a trade route carried steamboats loaded with goods and supplies on the Missouri River between St. Louis and Montana Territory. On April 1st, 1865, one of those steamboats hit a submerged log about 25 miles north of Omaha. The Bertrand sank within ten minutes and all of the cargo on board – worth approximately $100,000 (around $1.4 million in today’s dollars) – was lost. Thankfully, there were no human casualties. The Bertrand and its treasure trove of artifacts remained submerged in the Missouri River for more than 100 years, but today you can see those amazing relics.
This video offers a wonderful overview of the Bertrand collection.
You can find the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Museum at 1434 316th Lane, Missouri Valley IA 51555. (Remember, though, that despite its street address, the refuge is technically in Nebraska.) Learn more about visiting the refuge here.
Have you ever visited the Steamboat Bertrand collection? Tell us about it in the comments!
For another fascinating relic of Nebraska’s past, read our article about the ghost town of Antioch, which was once the potash capital of Nebraska.
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