Celebrating 40 Years

Friends is delighted to be celebrating 40 years of bringing the river to life.

In 1979, Friends of the Chicago River was launched by a small group of concerned folks, inspired by journalist Robert Cassidy's Chicago magazine cover story "Our Friendless River." In 2019, four decades later, we have thousands of Friends like you who support this tireless effort to improve and protect the Chicago River system for people, plants and animals.

To represent our 40th anniversary, we chose the dragonfly: agile and efficient with amazing vision and focus. Dragonflies are key indicators of ecological quality as they need clean water to survive. And, in some cultures, they represent change.

Friends had a productive year in 2018. Our legal action against the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago gained worldwide attention, we worked diligently with private and public officials to ensure environmentally sensitive development and public access along the river, our Chicago River Day attracted some 2,000 volunteers at 70 cleanup sites across the region, and our museum welcomed its 200,000th guest.

Bringing the River to Life for 40 Years

Friends of the Chicago River History: An Amazing Journey

"Our Friendless River" Chicago Magazine (August 1979)

Q & A with Robert Cassidy, Author of "Our Friendless River"

40 Years, 40 Key Moments
Blog | PDF

40 People Who Made a Difference
Blog | PDF

40 Fantastic Fauna

40 Top Places to See on the Chicago River