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 1998
King Fisher grew up working in his father’s shrimping business, starting at the age of fourteen during the Great Depression. In 1934 when he was eighteen, Mr. Fisher converted a small shrimp boat into a towboat powered by a Buick engine and pushing one wooden barge. From this start, he and his wife, Jewel, built the largest dredging and marine construction business in Texas, providing employment for some 275 people.
Mr. Fisher’s father was also named King, because he shined shoes outside a tavern in San Antonio, Texas, where outlaws ambushed and killed a Texas Ranger named King Fisher. Always an innovator, he built his own 2,000-ton dry-dock out of salvaged material. Some said it would not work, but it made over 300 lifts.
King Fisher Marine Services was the major contractor for deepening and widening of the Victoria Barge Canal in Texas in the 1960s. Mr. Fisher donated the equipment and personnel to assist in the location and salvage of the explorer LaSalle’s ship, the Belle, recovering the cannon and many other artifacts, including the well preserved remains of a crew member.
Mr. Fisher developed the “walking spud” for dredges. This uniquely designed spud allows the dredge to position itself on one side of the channel and “walk” down the channel, making more headway and operating in a much more efficient manner. At his own expense, he restored 2,000 feet of beach at Port O’Connor, demonstrating the beneficial use of dredged material. The beach is now dedicated in his name. His greatest legacy, however, will be his work on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. He sailed its route before the canal was dug. He dug much of it himself, and he has been the major contractor to maintain it for 50 years.