More than 50 years ago, Mr. John E. Connelly set his sights on cleaning up Pittsburgh's polluted three rivers and returning them to their former glory as the Steel City's heart and soul. As then-treasurer of the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, John was in a prime position to complete his ambition. With the belief that he could get the public engaged and committed to a cleanup, he decided to give the local people access to the rivers via boat tours, knowing the city's characteristic architecture as viewed from the rivers would engender a genuine appreciation for the region's waterways and environment.
After getting his nephew, Captain Jack Goessling, on board, John purchased a 100-passenger fishing boat they would christen the Gateway Clipper, which would later launch from Monongahela Wharf for the first of its many pleasure cruises. Today, with Gateway Clipper Fleet, his dream of engaging locals and visitors in the city's history and waterways thrives with a fleet that has grown to five boats capable of accommodating 2,500 guests. Through the years, the fleet has ferried more than 25 million passengers, treating them to dinner cruises, sightseeing tours, and entertainment jaunts along the clean, blue waters of Pittsburgh's three rivers.:m]]