A sunken ship may turn into a tourist site in eastern Arkansas. A paddle wheel steamboat called the Sultana caught fire in 1865, just days after the end of the Civil War. Over 1,200 Union soldiers died, making it the biggest maritime disaster in U.S. history.
The ship's wreckage currently rests underneath a soybean field in Marion where the Mississippi River once ran. Project Director Louis Intres tells KATV-TV that plans are in progress to build a 10,000-square-foot, $3 million Sultana Disaster Museum.
The Marion Advertising and Promotion Commission will contribute $400,000 toward the construction and an additional $75,000 a year for 10 years to help with operation costs. The city commissioned a feasibility study that showed the museum could generate $2.4 million in economic activity and attract up to 40,000 visitors a year.