GROWTH AND MOVEMENT
Cleveland A.A. Grows in Leaps and Bounds
LUNCHEON -- MAY 26TH, 1941 --
Speaker - Mr. Clarence Snyder,
E.D. Latimer and Co., 5362 Broadway.
Subject - "Alcoholics Anonymous"
This movement, rapidly gaining
in momentum, offers the first uniformly successful hope for a
large group of people. There is much all of us would like to learn
of this. The program has received favorable comment in other clubs
as being most instructive.
From Construction News Issued weekly by
The Kiwanis Club of East Cleveland, Ohio
year 1941 was a banner year for the growth of A.A. in Cleveland.
The first group formed that year on Friday, January 3rd,
was organized on and called the Lee Road Group. It met at 1637
Lee Road. A second Lee Road Group was formed as part of the original
group and it met for the first time on Monday, January 6th,
at the same address. This meant there were now nine meetings in
the Cleveland area.
tenth meeting - the Crawford Road Men's Group - had its first
organizational meeting on February 12th with twelve members present.
Its second organizational meeting which was probably its first
regular meeting on February 19th, with seventeen members
present. The Crawford Road meeting was held originally at 1779
Crawford Road. Clarence described its origins as follows:
a time in A.A. that people were coming in so fast, we had a hard
time absorbing them on a one-on-one basis... I was trying to figure
out how to teach A.A. in classes to people. The problem was, where
to find a place to teach these classes. This was because we had
no money which added to the problem.
of the 1941 inquiries which came in to the Cleveland Plain
Dealer, was from a Walter B.; of him, Clarence wrote, "He
lived down on Crawford Road." Clarence took this inquiry and went
to visit with Walter. When he arrived, Clarence found the address
to be a funeral home. Clarence was told that Walter was living
out in the back in the carriage house.
Walter answered the door he was wearing a beret. Of meeting him,
Clarence said, "He was very affable, very polite and very drunk."
Walter invited Clarence inside; and, Clarence said, "Lo and behold,
this place was a theater." Walter loved the theater so much that
he set up his home as one. Clarence described the "theater," starting
that there were a "couple of hundred theater seats, a stage and
props." On the other end of the building, Walter made his living
quarters. There was no one else living there besides Walter except
for "this great Dane, his best buddy," as Clarence described the
hobby was putting on amateur theatrical events for the neighborhood.
Most people didn't come to these because Walter was always drunk
and making a fool of himself.
took a look at this theater and told Walter, "You are a gift from
heaven." Walter was dumbfounded. He didn't understand what Clarence
was talking about. But Clarence felt he had just found the right
place for holding the A.A. classes. It was perfect, Clarence thought.
A.A.s took over Walter's home. Clarence said of the new classes:
men, who were just wandering around with no place to go anyway,
were told to go to this place. They came to be taught this program.
By the end of the first year, the Crawford Road Men's Group had
one hundred and thirty-five members. This was from a core group
of only ten."
told the author about one of Walter's neighbors, an elderly woman
who once inquired about what was going on. She wanted to know
about all of these strange men coming and going, the laughing
and carrying on. She asked if they were drunk. Clarence told her
that none of them drank even though they were once hopeless alcoholics.
"You mean they don't drink," she asked? Clarence replied, "Nope,
and they never will drink again." He explained to her a little
about the A.A. program and told her his own story.
Lady proceeded to tell Clarence that she had a boy who was "on
the bum," and asked, "Can you fix him?" Clarence asked her where
the boy was. She told him her boy was somewhere on skid row in
New York City, and that he hadn't contacted her in a long time.
Clarence told her about Bill Wilson, and gave her Bill's number.
woman also had a daughter who was living in New York, and the
daughter was given Bill's number in case she ever saw her brother.
The brother had been an advertising manager for Calvert Distillery
and got fired for drinking too much. "I guess he must have believed
his own ads," Clarence observed.
the brother contacted his sister for help, and the two got together.
The sister gave him Bill's number, and the man joined A.A. Clarence
recalled that this man never drank again and went on to become
the first Editor of the A.A. Grapevine.
August 20th, 1941, the meeting at Walter's "theater" had to move.
The announcement for the new meeting read as follows:
moved to our new meeting place at 8920 Euclid Ave. 2nd floor of
the Euclid-Bolton Garage Building. A new and larger meeting place,
seating approximately 150 people, located on the south side of
Euclid Ave. between East 89th. St. and East 90th. Street.
ample parking facilities in the neighborhood for those who drive.
and Interesting Meeting is planned for MEN ONLY Wednesday P.M.
Aug. 20, 1941. Our first meeting in our new quarters.
5759 - W.E.B., Secretary
April 21st, 1941, The Miles Avenue Group was formed
in Cleveland. It branched off from the Borton Group and had its
first meeting on that Monday at 10203 Miles Avenue. William H.
and Frank W. were the group's sponsors. There were twenty original
members; and by the end of the first year, the Miles Group had
eighty-five in attendance.
group number twelve was the Collinwood Group. It first met on
Thursday, April 24th. at the Arnold Hall on East 152nd.
and St. Clair. There were fourteen members present. It had branched
off from the Lee Road Friday Group; and its sponsors were: Dan
M., Franklin S., Tom V. and Harvey B. S. The group, on June 25th,
moved to 14709 St. Clair Avenue and met on Wednesdays. At the
end of the first year, the Collinwood Group had eighty-five active
number thirteen was the Shaker Group; and it was formed on Monday,
May 4th, 1941, and met at the Shaker Junior High School.
It had branched off from the Borton Group with ten original members
and immersed to twenty-three active members by the end of the
first year. The first Secretary was Thomas C. B.
next group was formed on May 16th, 1941. It was the
Avon Lake Group and it met for the first time on Wednesday at
the home of Dr. P. The group then later moved to the Avon Lake
Town Hall and met on Fridays. This group had branched off from
the Lake Shore-Cleveland Group with eight original members. It
later moved to the American Legion Home in Lorain, Ohio. Its sponsors
were Dr. P., John B., John M. and Tom S. (Tom was one of Clarence's
next group was not only a first for Cleveland, it was a first
for A.A. as a whole. Group number fifteen was the Women's Group.
Marion R., the group's secretary, wrote, "I believe it is most
interesting to know we are the first women's group in the U.S."
first meeting of that women's group was on Tuesday, May 20th,
1941, and it met at the Colonial Hotel. There were sixteen original
members. The sponsors of the group were Marion R., Lila D., H.
M. and Mary S. On May 27, the women began holding their meetings
at the "homes of girls" and later moved their meetings to Wednesday
nights at 12214 Detroit Avenue.
had always fought for women to be able to come into A.A. But Dr.
Bob had been against this idea, stating, he felt women members
would be too distracting and would cause problems, not only for
the male members, but for their wives as well. Also, Clarence
felt, Bill Wilson was not too "keen on the idea" of women in A.A.
But Clarence believed the meetings should be open to any person
who had a problem with alcohol, and that women were certainly
more meetings were formed between May 23rd and November
26th, 1941. The first of these was the Lorain Avenue
Group, which met on Monday, May 23rd at 11934 Lorain
Avenue. It had twenty original members and had branched off from
the Brooklyn Group.
the West Side Men's Group was formed and had its first meeting
on September 4th. It first met at 11107 Fortune Avenue
with eight original members. These later moved their meeting to
Tuesday Nights at Pilgrim Church on West 14th. Street and Starkweather.
The sponsors of the West Side Group were Howard E., Norman J.,
Elmer H., Regis L., Jim C., Bob T., Bob F. and Jim S. At the end
of its first nine months the West Side Group had one hundred and
thirty-three members. The group was a special interest group of
sorts, as was explained by its secretary, Dr. H.C.R., who wrote,
"This group is solely for recreation purposes... Requirement of
membership is good standing in a parent group."
Collinwood A.M. Group had its first meeting on Wednesday, October
1st. and met at 14709 St. Clair. There were fifteen original members;
and, by the end of its first year the group had fifty-eight active
members. The sponsors of the group were Al R., Don M., Frank S.
and Bill C. It had branched from the original Collinwood Group.
next group to form was the Lorain Group which met on Wednesday,
October 22nd. at the Antlers Hotel. There were fifteen original
members and, at the end of the first six months, there were thirty.
The sponsors of that group were Tom S., Don W. and Frank B. Both
Tom and Don were Clarence's "babies."
West 25th Street Group first met on Thursday, October
30th at West 25th Street and Erin. It had
thirteen original members; and at the end of its first year, there
were fifty active members. The sponsors of the group were H.H.F.,
Tom C., Clayton B. and Tom L. This group had branched off from
the Brooklyn Group.
Lee Road Wednesday Men and Women's Group held its first meeting
on November 26th at Lee and Mayfield. There were fifty
original members; and, at the end of the first six months, there
were seventy-five. The sponsors of the group were Albert R. G.
( from the original G. Group), Stan B., B. McD., F.D. The Lee
Road Group had branched from the Thursday and Friday Lee and Mayfield
was one other Cleveland Group, which for some reason Clarence
couldn't recall, did not make the list compiled by Norm E., Recording
Statistician of the Central Committee. This group was not listed
among the original twenty-nine groups from May 11, 1939 through
July 24, 1942. This was the Heights Group Friday, which first
met on January 3, 1941, at 1637 Lee Road. It had twenty original
members and had branched off from the Heights Group Thursday.
Original members included George McD. and D.B.H.
were two out-of-town groups formed in 1941 which sprang directly
from the Cleveland Groups. These were the Douglass Group, which
met on Tuesday, November 11, 1941, at the Grace Episcopal Church
in Mansfield, Ohio. It had seven original members, four of whom
had come from the Borton Group. At the end of six months, there
were fourteen active members. The sponsors of the group were Marion
D., Ralston Fox S. and C.T. "Duke" P. (from Toledo).
other out-of-town group was the Geneva Group, which first met
in Geneva, Ohio on September 8th. On January 30, 1942, it moved
to Ashtabula, Ohio and changed its name to the Ashtabula Group.
This meeting met bi-monthly since its members were still going
to Cleveland to meet at the Borton Group every other week. The
sponsors of the group were Jack D., William F. Harry S., Al S.
and Pete S.
and "the boys and girls" were thus very busy during 1941. They
were running around, answering inquiries and starting meetings.
They were also beginning to form what was probably the first local
Central Office of A.A. The only other A.A. office was that of
the Alcoholic Foundation in New York City.