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Ralph Frese



Ralph Frese passed away December 10th, 2012.


The Chicagoland Canoe Base has been an landmark in Chicago for many years. A fourth generation blacksmith, canoeist, historian and environmentalist, Ralph was lovingly called “Mr. Canoe.”

He touched many people’s lives since the 1940’s when he started to work in his father’s blacksmith shop, but moreover since the late 1950’s when he got involved helping boyscout troops build their own canoes, reenact historical trips like Joliet – Marquette and La Salle, or advocating for a clean environment. His office walls are full of awards and diplomas. In recognition of his contributions, he was inducted into the National Rivers Hall of Fame and in 2007 a stretch of the Chicago River was renamed “The Ralph Frese River Trail.”

We started this blog to collect memories from people who know Ralph. Please click on the “Memories” tab at the top navigation bar and leave few lines about Ralph.

Thank you.