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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

President Herbert Hoover

Inducted in 2020

Born in 1874 in West Branch, Iowa, Herbert Hoover was an engineer and has arguably impacted America’s rivers through public policy more than any other individual in the nation’s history. Responsible for distributing food throughout Europe following World War I, Hoover became intimate with the cargo traffic of European rivers, which at the time, carried more freight than American rivers. As early as 1920, President Hoover used his experience and observations in Europe to begin advancing the promotion of policies led earlier by progressives like President Teddy Roosevelt.

Hoover served as Secretary of Commerce during the Harding and Coolidge administrations. During his time as Secretary, he oversaw negotiations that laid the groundwork for the St. Lawrence Seaway project.

In 1925, in an effort to improve commerce along our waterways, Hoover threw his full weight behind public funding for the channelization of the Missouri, the construction of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and the 9,000-mile interconnected web of America’s inland waterways. Hoover supported the construction of dams to aid flood control, navigation, and irrigation. After the 1927 flood of the lower Mississippi, President Hoover was key to the passage of the 1928 Flood Control Act and supported the Army Corps of Engineers, who advocated for floodways, levees, and controlled locks and dams along on the Mississippi River.

Hoover’s successful work on the Colorado River Compact envisioned what later, and after much controversy, would become the Hoover Dam. Now, 55 years after his death, the National Rivers Hall of Fame seeks to honor the totality of President Hoover’s efforts to support our nation’s waterways and those living and working along America’s rivers.