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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

Nicholas J. Roosevelt

Inducted in 1987

Nicholas J. Roosevelt built and captained the first steamboat to travel the Ohio and Mississippi and devoted his life to steamboat engineering and construction. Roosevelt’s side paddlewheel design was used by Fulton and Livingston on the Clermont in 1807. In 1811, Roosevelt built the first boat for the Mississippi, the New Orleans, and overcame the Ohio River falls at Louisville, the New Madrid earthquake, major floods, and attacks by native tribes. Roosevelt brought the steamboat to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers and laid the groundwork for a century of steamboat commerce and transportation.