The Plumbing Contractors Association of Chicago and Cook County marked its 125th anniversary with a gala celebration in conjunction with its bi-annual installation dinner on Feb. 9.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley addresses the Chicago PCA at its 125th anniversary celebration. (Photo courtesy of Franco Lanzi Photography, www

ThePlumbing Contractors Association of Chicago and Cook County(Chicago PCA) marked its 125th anniversary with a gala celebration in conjunction with its bi-annual installation dinner on Feb. 9, 2008. The event was held at the Chicago Historical Museum and attended by more than 225 members, guests and dignitaries, including Chicago MayorRichard M. Daley, who paid tribute to the group’s “commitment to making our city a better place to live, work and raise families.”

Formed in 1882 as the Master Plumbers Association, the Chicago PCA forerunner was instrumental in forming the National Association of Master Plumbers (now PHCC-NA) the following year. Other achievements credited to the organization or its members over time include:

  • Way back in 1884, the forerunners of the Chicago PCA conceived the modern system of apprenticeship, whereby apprentices became indentured to the trade rather than specific employers. Training became systematic instead of haphazard.


  • Their efforts help in giving Chicago one of the world’s safest supplies of drinking water. Though 27 million visitors came to the 1893 Columbian Exposition world’s fair, not a single case of typhoid was reported - an unheard of accomplishment for its time. By 1920, Chicago had the lowest typhoid rate of our nation’s 20 largest cities.


  • Chicago PCA was represented on a special committee that developed the 1924 Hoover Code, establishing 20 basic principles for DWV design and installation. Chicago PCA members also were instrumental in the movement toward standardization of plumbing materials.


  • Chicago PCA led the fight for tougher plumbing licensing laws during the 1930s after a fatal breakout of amoebic dysentery at Chicago’s 1933 Century of Progress world’s fair was traced to a hotel cross-connection.


  • The organization tirelessly promotes a positive image of the plumbing trade via radio and TV commercials and other media, along with extravagant charitable works.


  • Chicago PCA has history of stable labor relations going back a half century with UA Local 130, one of the nation’s largest plumbing unions.
  • The Chicago PCA has more than 150 member firms based throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. Installed as new officers during the Feb. 9 celebration were: President Al Gehrke; 1st Vice President Jerry Roberts; 2nd Vice President James Smith; Treasurer Lori Abbott; and President Emeritus Craig Campeglia.