Address of President Hoover

July 24, 1929
Entire Report

To My Fellow Citizens:

I am speaking to-night from the deck of the steamboat at the Louisville Levee. During the day we have completed the journey from Cincinnati to Louisville as part of the celebration of the Ohio Valley upon the completion of the improvement of the Ohio River into a modern waterway.

The river has now been formally opened to traffic from above Pittsburgh, 1,000 miles to Cairo, on the Mississippi, from which point another 1,000 miles of modernized waterway leads to the sea at New Orleans. By dams and locks, by dredging and revetments, we have transformed the Ohio River from a stream of shallows, of times dangerous even to rafts, into a canalized waterway of an assured 9 feet of depth at all seasons. TMs transformation will not revive the romantic steamboat days of Mark Twain, but it will move more goods.

The picturesque floating palaces of Mark Twain's day drew 2 or 3 feet of water and even then found their way precariously around the bends among the snags and over sand bars. In time they were unable to compete with the spreading railroads, and river navigation passed into its Dark Ages. But now is its day of renaissance. Upon deep and regular channels unromantic Diesel tugs now tow long trains of steel barges. What the river has lost in romance it has gained in tonnage, for in steamboat in days 500 tons was a great cargo, while to-day 10,000 tons is moved with less men and less fuel. It is thus by deeper channels and new inventions that our rivers come back as great arteries of commerce after half a century of paralysis. And the new waterways are not competitive but complementary to our great and efficient railways. It is the history of transportation that an increase of facilities and a cheapening of transportation increase the volume of traffic.

In the steamboat in days the rivers were the great arteries for travel. Those who must hurry will have little inclination to journey by river steamers, but those who wish, recreation may well return to this magnificent and powerful river. The majesty of the Ohio was born of the Ice Age, half a million years ago. Its beauty remains to-day undisturbed by our improvements, and will remain long after our Nation and race have been replaced with some other civilization. And those who love the glories of “Ok Man River “may now again find rest and food for the soul in travel on its currents.

The Ohio has a large place in the history of our race. On this route 250 years ago birch canoes carried La Salle and his first party of white men into the wilderness of the Middle West. He was the first to visit the falls of Louisville, whose roar is this moment in my cars. Down this valley

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Hoover, Herbert
Dec. 03, 1929  Message of the President of the United States
Dec. 03, 1929  Message of the President of the United States
Nov. 29, 1929  Address of President Hoover
Nov. 11, 1929  Address of President Hoover
Oct. 21, 1929  Address of President Hoover
Jul. 24, 1929  Address of President Hoover
May 30, 1929  Address of President Hoover at the Memorial Exercises at Arlington National Cemetary
Apr. 22, 1929  Address of President Hoover at the Annual Luncheon of the Associated Press at New York City
Powers and History of the Presidency