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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 Builders

Robert Fulton

Inducted in 1987

Robert Fulton was an artist, inventor and engineer best known for his pioneering development of a practical steamboat. In 1807 Fulton launched his 146-foot steamboat the North River Steamboat of Clermont. By 1810, three of Fulton’s boats were in operation on the Hudson and Rariton Rivers. Fulton designed the New Orleans, the first steamboat to operate on the western rivers. During the War of 1812, he designed the world’s first steam powered warship. Robert Fulton proved the commercial feasibility of steamboats and ushered in a new era in the history of transportation.