The National Rivers Hall of Fame will honor two 2018 inductees at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium’s Captain’s Ball Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. Captain Stephen Beck Hanks and Rosalie Edge will be celebrated for their historical significance to America’s Rivers.
Capt. Hanks (1821-1917) spent 50 years on the Mississippi River working in all phases of 19th-century steamboating. Hanks’ career began with the birth of the great lumber industry in the St. Croix Valley in 1842, as he piloted one of the first floating lumber rafts downriver to St. Louis. The following year, Hanks guided the first log raft safely out of Stillwater to St. Louis. He was one of only two pilots to run rafts on contract, and followed the trade until 1854.
From 1854 to 1874, Hanks transitioned to piloting steam vessels. He was employed by the Minnesota Packetboat Company and the Diamond Jo Line Steamboat Company, responsible for piloting nearly all of the large popular steamers of that era, carrying passengers and cargo. In 1874, Hanks returned to the rafting business, operating towboats for Chancy Lamb and Company of Clinton, Iowa, and spending his winters towing barges for government improvement work near Plum Point, Tenn.
Hanks retired in 1892 and dictated recollections of his river service. These dictations were published in the Burlington Saturday Evening Post in 1921 and have been a rich source of primary information for historians and river enthusiasts alike.
Rosalie Edge (1877-1962) was a conservation advocate who contributed significantly to America by preserving its river species. Edge began her public life as an advocate for the equal rights of women. Following passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote, Edge turned her attention toward wildlife and conservation with a particular interest in birds.
During the Great Depression, Edge was considered the country’s strongest conservationist, encouraging the conservation community to take stronger measures to protect bird species. She founded the Emergency Conservation Committee, which published and distributed numerous pamphlets through the years urging wildlife protection organizations to increase their effectiveness.
In 1934, Edge founded the world’s first preserve for birds of prey, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. Over the next three decades, she became one of the most prominent figures in American conservation. In her lifetime, Edge compiled a list of more than 800 species of birds. She played key roles in the establishment of Olympic National Park and Kings Canyon National Park and in the expansion of Yosemite National Park. Edge was one of the most devoted environmentalists of the 20th century.
About National Rivers Hall of Fame
Established in 1985 with 113 national advisors, the mission of the National Rivers Hall of Fame is to collect, preserve, and share the stories of the women and men who have had a significant impact on the rivers of America. Located at the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa, the Hall of Fame advances its mission through educational programs and exhibits through the Museum & Aquarium, and through its national outreach program, RiverWorks Discovery. The Hall of Fame is supported by members in 36 states.