The National Achievement Award is the highest honor presented by the National Rivers Hall of Fame to those people who are making significant contributions to America’s waterways. The National Rivers Hall of Fame with members in 36 states is the only national museum telling the stories of the people of America’s rivers.
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Honored in 1987
In 1887 river commerce appeared to be on the way to oblivion; and the Waterways Journal began life as a publication called The River, with Abbott Veach as editor, publisher, business manager and vice-president at various times. In 1894 William Arste took over and was at the helm until 1921. Then Captain Donald T. Wright bought the publication and he was to put his stamp on the Journal for years to come.
The river business was at a very low point. The Inland Waterways Corporation, better known as the Federal Barge Lines, had formed to develop new types of boats and barges to replace the steam packet boats of the past.
Captain Wright supported the people and organizations that tried to improve the waterways through canals and dredging. He fought hard against low bridges, and rivermen who today safely navigate most bridges with safe clearances have Captain Wright to thank.
Under Captain Wright the Waterways Journal grew up, getting away from the more folksy columns such as Cairo Cuttings, Paducah Plucks, Gallipolis Gossip. Coverage of the Journal expanded as the river did, moving to the west with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and Arkansas-Verdigris Waterway System into Oklahoma.
Captain Wright died suddenly in 1965, but the Waterways Journal has continued to expand its service to the river industry. It acquired the Inland River Record, started the Inland River Guide in 1972, and then acquired Quimby’s Harbor Guide, for the recreational boater.