Smokeshop

SS August 2016

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August 2016 SMOKESHOP 31 cigar collector, Biggs stocks several box- es of vintage cigars which retail from $90 to $315 for a single stick. "We've tracked down and curated a variety of rare cigars over the years with examples dating back to the 1870s through the 1930s," said Cioffi, who has been involved in antiques for 25 years. "We have cigars from Cuba, Europe, America, and the Caribbean. Some ex- amples with minor issues we've brought to the Dominican and had Hendrik Kel- ner Jr. put an aged, relaxed wrapper over the existing one." Cioffi partnered with Kelner and his Santiago-based Kelner Boutique Factory in 2013 to develop and produce his own line of premium cigars, Principle Cigars Aviator Series, one of the unique boutique offerings carried by Biggs. Cioffi and Kelner also produce two well-regarded house blends for Biggs. "I've been an antique dealer since high school, specializing in old paper and advertising artwork. I discovered vintage cigar label art, old cigar boxes, and vintage packages of the actual cigars. Treasure hunting is still my passion. While preservation is more important to me, smoking a hundred-year-old cigar can allow you to taste interesting and bi- zarre flavor profiles. "Having the cigars at Biggs allows smokers to share the experience, whether it's lighting up or just having a look. The staff there is extremely knowledgeable and the regulars are the sort with which you'd enjoy sharing a cigar." Members of Biggs Lounge enjoy the location and amenities. A six-block walk from home is conve- nient for neighborhood resident Dustin Dressel. "Biggs has a classic architectural feel," said Dressel. "When I signed up, everyone knew my name; the service is high end. Anything I've ever asked for it was done without a problem. "I've had friends get together to watch a game, a celebration, or for din- ner. I've met clients there and used the business boardroom, which has been ideal. The members make you feel well received and are always giving. "Biggs is a step back in time; there's a sense of tradition. The history of the area and the detail of the house is something you always feel. You're in the boardroom HARNESSING THE GRANDEUR AND MYSTIQUE OF CHICAGO'S ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY The Biggs Mansion at 1150 North Dearborn Street—officially known as the John DeKoven House—has a lineage rarely found in any city. It was one of the first homes built following the devastating Chicago fire of 1871 that featured the Second Empire style. The Chicago destroyed a significant portion of the city, decimating 18,000 buildings and leaving one-third of the city's population of 300,000 people homeless. The ensuing two decades marked a period where Chicago took shape as a center for transportation and business. Several noted architects came to the city during this time and dozens of majestic homes and buildings—many of which are now historical landmarks—were constructed. Over time, a multitude met the wrecking ball, unfortunately, but the Biggs Mansion is one building which has maintained its prominence and much of its original style. The home was designed by Edward Burling, who was not professionally trained as an architect, but rather apprenticed in Newburgh, New York as a car- penter before moving to Chicago in 1843 at age 24. Chicago's first mayor William Ogden hired Burling as superintendent of Ogden, Jones & Co. In 1852, he left that position and partnered with Frederick H. Baumann to create the firm Edward Burling & Co. in 1855. A record shows that Burling had, at one point, construction moving forward on one church, one residence, one public building, three hotels, and twelve commercial buildings, all which burned in the great fire. Among Burling's later historic landmarks in the city were St. James Cathedral, work In 1874, John DeKoven, a treasurer for several banks and founder of Northern Trust Company, hired Burling to build the stately home that bears his name. DeKoven lived there with his family until his death in 1898. His daughter, Louise DeKoven Bowen, sold it to Joseph Biggs, a caterer for Chicago's elite including the DeKovens. Biggs continued his catering business out of the building until 1964 when it was sold and became Biggs Restaurant, and later Il Mulino.

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