HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CHICAGOLAND PIPE COLLECTORS CLUB (CPCC) AND THE CPCC CHICAGOLAND INTERNATIONAL PIPE AND TOBACCIANA SHOW
Being that there are very few written documents about pipe clubs in the Chicago area prior to the late 1970’s, the information gathered below is the result of talking with the pipe smokers/collectors who are still alive and remember (to the best of their abilities) certain pertinent events, activities or the names of those involved in these activities.
What we wish to accomplish is to develop a complete history of the pipe smoking activities that led to the creation of the Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club. We have a good base starting point with what we have found so far but to further the history, we would appreciate any additional information, corrections or clarifications (including misspelled names) of any part of the CPCC development. Whatever information you may wish to contribute should be given to a CPCC Show or Club officer, and it will find its way to me.
We will add whatever pertinent information is given to us; in that way we will continue this history as an on-going project with the final goal being the best possible history of the CPCC’s development.
Thank you for your time and efforts.
COMPILED BY: FRANK BURLA
THE EVOLUTION OF THE CHICAGOLAND PIPE COLLECTORS CLUB (CPCC)
The below information is based on research, talking with some of the older collectors in the area, and my recollections. It is the best that I could come up with. Some of the original collector’s names may be misspelled.
In the 1940’S AND 50’S, there were already established pipe shops in the Chicago area. Some of these were THE IWAN RIES & CO. Pipe Shop, located at 133 S. Wabash, Chicago, THE CELLINI PIPE & CIGAR SHOP, located on Franklin Street, Chicago, The POPELA PIPES & CIGAR Shop, located at 5624 Cermak Road, Cicero, PAUL E. SCHICKLER, located at 5 E. Chicago Street, Elgin, and LARSONS PIPE & CIGARS, located at 37 S. St. John Avenue, Highland Park.
Thereafter, many other pipes shops opened up in the Chicago area, such as THE UP-DOWN TOBACCO SHOP, which started in 1963 at the corners of Burton and Wells, which in 1976 moved to 1550 N. Wells, Chicago, and LATOURS, located in Homewood, Illinois.
Many of the well-known pipe smokers socialized while visiting these shops.
Prior to 1970 there were very few social pipe smoking groups that would get together to smoke their pipes and discuss their latest purchases of pipes and tobaccos. These meetings were sporadic.
The first sign of any organized group of pipe smokers came about in the early 1970’s when some of the pipe smokers would meet occasionally with their friendly pipe shop managers at various smokers’ homes.
In 1977, Diana Silvius, owner of The Up-Down Tobacco Shop, started a pipe smokers club for her customers. It was called the Sons of Briar (SOB’S). Diana also held pipe smoking contests until the non-smoking laws of Illinois went into effect, around 2008. Shortly after that the active SOB club ended, though still a few members get together for a monthly dinner, after visiting the shop. Paul Bender was the President of the SOB Club.
At about the same time, in the Chicago area, we had the North side and South side pipe smoking groups just beginning to form.
The North side group came together because of Ty Anderle, who managed the Davis Pipe & Tobacco Shop, in Evanston, Illinois. This is where the first serious pipe smokers met. The group consisted of many smokers, including Ty Anderle, Ed Lehman, Lance Ridolfi, Dennis Di Piazza, Al Smith, Judd Perlson, Rich Kozarewicz, Stan Ostroff, and others. Rich Kozarewicz and Stan Ostroff were also part of the new South side group that met occasionally at La Tours Pipe Shop, in Homewood.
The South side group, which also started to form at this time, consisted of many pipe smokers, including the staff at La Tours, Stan Ostroff, Rich Kozarewicz, Jerry Torrence, Herman Schobel, Ed Kosticki, and Chuck Rio. I joined them in late 1979 and later met Bob Makiddy, Clarence Mickles, Bill Amato, Chuck Gray, and others.
Many Chicago pipe smokers knew nothing about the North side and South side pipe smoking group get togethers. I worked in Chicago and constantly visited the Iwan Ries Tobacco Shop. I lived on the South side and occasionally visited La Tours.
It was purely by chance that I eventually met Chuck Rio, Jerry Torrence and Herm Schobel who invited me to one of their South side get togethers.
Due to Ostroff and Kozarewicz knowing Ty Anderle, Ed Lehman and others, the South side group met the North siders and eventually joined together into an informal group.
In the late 1980’s the groups of North side and South side pipe smokers/collectors, who had been meeting informally for a few years, began meeting together and began calling their group The Chicagoland Pipe Collectors Club. These two groups joined and became known as the Chicagoland Pipe Collectors (CPCC) in the early 1990’s. In 1995 The CPCC became incorporated as a not for profit corporation. Michael Reschke was the first President of the CPCC and continued in that position, with the exception of one year, in which Paul Bender was President.
THE EVOLUTION OF THE CPCC CHICAGOLAND INTERNATIONAL PIPE AND TOBACCIANA SHOW:
The Chicago Pipe Show, as it is more commonly known, started in 1996, with its first Show at the Clarion International Quality Inn, Rosemont, Illinois. However, the history that brought this Show about is very interesting.
There were originally two independent pipe shows in the Chicago area in the 1980’s. There was the Briar Pipe show run by Dennis Di Piazza, and the Antique Pipe Show run by Frank Burla.
During this same period there was an informal pipe show held in the Indianapolis, Indiana area, called the Briar Fryers Show, run by Basil Sullivan and Dave Bradock. Many of the Chicago area pipe smokers/collectors would attend this show.
The Chicago area Briar Show started circa 1982 and was held locally at shopping malls and hotels. Dennis Di Piazza, who ran the briar pipe shows was the manager of the Tinderbox Pipe Shop in Schaumberg, Illinois. He had a good pipe smoker base who supported his venture and heavily attended these briar pipe shows.
The Chicagoland Antique Pipe Show started in 1983, and its first show was held at the home of Frank and Annette (Ann) Burla. Ann and I removed all of the furniture from the first floor of our home to include the kitchen and laundry rooms for the exhibitors. It was a very successful pipe show, with visitors such as Herb Ratner, Ben Rapaport, Stu Silber, Judd Perlson, Dr. Federico Baylaender, Dr. S. Peckus, Cano Ozenger, and others.
For a few years in the 1980’s, we had two pipe shows a year in the Chicago area, the Briar Pipe Show run by Dennis Di Piazza and the Antique Pipe Show run by Frank Burla. These two show merged in the late 1980’s.
In 1986, the Briar Show and the Antique Pipe Show joined for one year and had both Shows at the Sheraton Hotel of Naperville, Illinois. The Show was a success but the Briar Show staff decided to try and do one more show alone, in 1987, to see if it would be successful. This Show was held in an Embassy Suites Hotel in the suburbs.
In 1988, Dennis Di Piazza decided to merge his Briar Pipe Show with the Antique Pipe Show. The 1988 and 1989 Antique and Briar Pipe Shows were held at the Pheasant Run Resort, St. Charles, Illinois. These combined Shows were a great success.
Unfortunately, the 1989 Show was the last for this group. This was based on the fact that the combined Show was so successful that more staff would be needed to work the Show and that Frank Burla was working the Show full time along with his employment for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The stress became almost unbearable. No one could be found to take over the Show. Frank’s doctor said that he had to take a break or this continued stress could affect his health.
From 1990 to 1994, we tried to find people to work the show and someone to run it but we could find no takers, though some pipe smokers were going to think about it.
In 1994 Frank Burla was asked to become the Show Director by the CPCC because of his show experience. Fortunately, Frank had just retired from the FBI, and once his doctor said that he was healthy enough to run another show, Frank accepted. The acceptance was contingent on two points, one that he would need sufficient staff to help run the Show, and that he would need at least $1,000.00 up-front money to start the Show.
Frank got firm commitments of help and ten men (including Frank) each contributed $100.00 seed money. These contributors were Bill Amato, Michael Reschke, Chuck Rio, Al Smith, Ed Lehman, Herm Schobel, John Golderg, Judd Perlson and John Loring. It took one year to plan the Show, which included finding a location, sponsors, advertisement and trying to get exhibitors to attend. The first CPCC Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show was set for 1996, with Frank Burla as Show Director, Mike Reschke as Assistant Show Director, Bill Amato as the Treasurer and Chuck Rio, John Loring, and others, as Show Staff. There were others directly involved but I can’t remember all of their names.
We found a location for the first Show, in 1996, with the help of the National Pocket Lighter Society. The lighter group was having a Show at the Clarion International Quality Inn, Rosemont, Illinois, and was able to help our Show get a ballroom at the same location at the same time.
The Clarion International did not want our Show there in 1997 because it claimed that the cost of removing the smoke odor was very expensive.
The CPCC wanted the Show to continue, so we spent a good deal of time in searching for a new location. We found one, called the Ramada Inn, in Harvey, Illinois. They reluctantly accepted our Show. The hotel took a chance on our Show helping them financially.
We stayed at the Ramada Inn until 2000, when we outgrew the facility. Luckily, we found a larger location in Bloomingdale, Illinois, called the Indian Lakes Resort for our 2001 Show. It was a great location and our exhibitor and walk-in numbers grew.
We were told that they wanted us back in 2002 but because of our surprising success they wanted much higher fees. We were shocked. We did not know if we would be able to have a Show in 2002. Then we received a call from a representative of the Pheasant Run Resort, who wanted to meet with us. He said that the Pheasant Run Resort had been monitoring our numbers, e.g. room nights, crowd numbers, etc. and they wanted to house our Show for many years to come. The Resort also offered us a very good Show price to give them the opportunity to house our 2002 Pipe show.
Since 2002, we have been very pleased with our working relationship with the Pheasant Run Resort management and staff. The facility has everything that is needed to have a successful Show and to make sure that our visitors are happy.
The 2015 Chicago Pipe Show will be our 20th Show for the CPCC.
Craig Cobine is the current Show Director, who accepted the position when Frank Burla (Show Director Emeritus) retired on Doctor’s advice, and has done a remarkable job in bringing additional interest, world-wide, for our Show. Craig has a great group of Show Officers, Mike Reschke, Paul Bender, Rex Poggenpohl, Frank Burla (Show Adviser), Mike Gaffney, Chuck Rio, Tom Dinelli, Aziz Panjwani, and Hans Hansen, who all work very hard to insure that the Chicago Show continues to grow and prosper. Sue Bender, Annette Burla and Linda Cobine provide much needed assistance in several of the Show events.
In 1998, the CPCC created its renowned award called the Doctor of Pipes. This award is given to those who work diligently, in the collector field or in the field of tobacco trade to help enhance the hobby and further its growth. This award is now highly regarded and sought after in the worldwide community of pipe smokers. Frank Burla is the Governor of the Doctor of Pipes program.
The above information about how our Chicago Pipe Show came about is as close to correct as I (talking with some of the other older collectors from the area) could remember. I hope that I did not leave anything out or offend or ignore others contributions to the Club and the Show.
For those who ask, our CPCC logo was designed by Robert (Bob) Watson (a club member), who was a professional advertising executive. Bob created our annual Show Posters until his untimely death. Bob was assisted in creating the logo design by Ty Anderle. All of our Show posters will be on display at the 2015 CPCC Chicagoland International Pipe and Tobacciana Show.