In the News

U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Tom Cotton (R-AR) along with Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-01) introduced legislation to create a commemorative coin in remembrance of the Sultana Steamboat tragedy with a portion of the proceeds allotted to funding the preservation, maintenance and display of artifacts at the Sultana Disaster Museum in Marion, Arkansas.

“This commemorative coin will help share the stories of victims and survivors of the Sultana while preserving a piece of our history and ensuring this tragedy is not forgotten,” Boozman said.

“This bill will honor the victims of the Sultana tragedy and spread awareness of the event. I’m proud to join the rest of the Arkansas delegation in introducing this legislation,” Cotton said.

“The sinking of the Sultana was a great tragedy that has been, for the most part, left in the shadows of the past. This commemorative coin would not only keep alive the memory of those who were lost, but help fund the efforts of Marion residents to tell this story and preserve this important part of our history and heritage,” said Crawford. 

On April 27, 1865, the Sultana, a 260-foot-long wooden steamboat carrying thousands of passengers exploded, burned and sank into the Mississippi River claiming the lives of more than 1,000 passengers including recently released Union prisoners of war. This tragedy is recognized as the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history.

The remains of the Sultana were rediscovered in 1982 and efforts were launched to preserve the artifacts. In 2011, Arkansas State University hosted the first public exhibit of relics from the disaster. A small museum opened in Marion to house these pieces of history and, after persistent efforts from the community and the Sultana Historical Preservation Society, ground was broken in November 2022 on a new multi-million dollar facility to host this educational and economic resource. 

This legislation would authorize the U.S. Department of Treasury to mint in 2023 $5 gold coins, $1 silver coins and half-dollar coins.

Arkansas Congressmen French Hill, Steve Womack and Bruce Westerman are original cosponsors of the House legislation.

To read this in the Mountain Home Observer click Here