Hundreds of steamboats are buried underground along the banks of the Missouri River. We just don’t know where they are. One of them, however, was recently discovered under a cornfield near Malta Bend, Missouri, about 80 miles east of Kansas City.
That's where Nellie Backes Mertensmeyer grew up on the Backes farm. When he was a child, Steve Mertensmeyer's mother told him about a steamboat residing somewhere on that land. It was part of the local folklore.
"The story was that's why Malta Bend is named Malta Bend: because the Malta sank in the bend," said Mertensmeyer.