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National Rivers Hall of Fame Inductees

Hall of Fame inductees are the pioneers, explorers and artists in America's river history. They were movers and shakers from the days gone by and the recent past. These men and women made significant contributions related to America’s rivers, which is why we honor them.


The River People

Captain Joseph LaBarge

Inducted in 2002

The most renowned mountain boat pilot on the upper Missouri River. At age 16 he began as a fur trader and quickly became steamboat clerk and then apprentice pilot. LaBarge obtained his master’s license at age 25, serving as a charter captain and piloting, among others, the John James Audubon expedition in 1843. He remained active as a pilot until the age of 70, never losing or badly damaging a boat. Few pilots had the intuitive feel and navigational skills necessary to skipper the constantly changing channels of the Missouri.