After a 30-year career in trading financial securities, Lou Ritten, a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame, is now pursuing his true passion: history and relating it to the present by finding interesting connections among seemingly disparate times and places. Since 2000, Lou has published a book to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his local Little League Baseball organization; planned and hosted three three-day meetings concerning his greatest historical passion, Lewis and Clark, which drew out connections in Chicago, New Orleans, and the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; and delivered additional talks on the Burr-Hamilton Duel, Father Jacques Marquette, and the Potawatomi Trail of Death. He has also written a book on Fort Adams, an early 19th-century army installation in Mississippi, and compiled resource manuals in conjunction with the Chicago and Twin Cities meetings. As a member of the Friends of the Chicago Portage, Lou has delivered lectures on the 1816 Indian Boundary Line; the first mayor of Chicago, William B. Ogden; and early 19th-century roads in the Chicago area.
Along with membership in several other historical organizations, Lou has been a member of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, the nation's leading organization devoted to Lewis and Clark, since 1998 and he was one of the founders and serves as president of the local Illini Chapter based in Chicago. Lou was recently elected to the board of directors of the national organization and he will assume the presidency of the group in another two years. He has published short articles in the organization's publication We Proceeded On, and has also served as the historian of a Lewis and Clark-themed bus trip that traveled the Corps of Discovery's route from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean.
Locally, Lou served four-year terms as president of the Little League and as the elected president of the Community Park District. He was head of a church group that raised money for Hurricane Katrina relief and was an active participant in creating a veterans memorial in his hometown.
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