Archives: Detroit>Downtown>Central Group #0001

Detroit>Downtown>Central Group #0001

We were at first confused by the many names of groups that we were “digging” up, but finally come to realize they were names of the same group.

Cass Ave Methodist Church

The first group in Southeastern Michigan was born out of necessity. At this point in time we had come to rely too heavily on people outside of recovery, and for that we owed them a debt of gratitude which we can never repay, but it was time for us to stand on our own.

The wonderful accommodations at the Benson’s home on 860 Taylor Street were quickly becoming too small, we had grown to a group of twenty-five; the drunks were breaking things and spilling coffee, even though the Bensons never complained. This band of drunks’ were known as the Detroit Group. Before departing the Bensons’ home, Dr. Bob Smith was to visit and give his first of three talks in Detroit.

Doty Hall November, 1939

After what was probably to become our first group conscience, it was decided to move to Doty Hall, it was located north of the Benson’s. After a month or so there it was decided it was too far from where the chronic alcoholics were and we decided to look for a location close to where it all began and that was in the skid row of Detroit.

Jim Booth & Wife

Archie Trowbridge mentions in an open talk that we had a meeting or two at the Doty Hall, “but it did not work out. We eventually worked our way to 4242 Cass Ave, which became the first meeting place where we attempted to pay rent and learn to become self-supporting.” This location was the Community Center for the Cass Avenue Methodist Church located a couple of blocks south of the center.

Archie Trowbridge and Jim Booth (Scripps & Booth family) were considered to be the founders of the group, even though every member at the time pitched in to make it a success. All other groups were created off of this group as they became necessary. At this time the group decided to purchase a copy of the “Big Book” for the group’s use (This is currently in the Archivist’s possession.)

Group’s Big Book 

On October 15, 1941 Bill Wilson, founder of AA, did a talk here to help the group celebrate the Central Group’s anniversary, with 300 people in attendance. Bill was interviewed by both the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News about this new organization. The article goes on to report that there were currently six women members in the “Detroit Chapter.”

Bill G. Wilson, Co-founder of AA

A group information sheet dated September 19, 1943 lists the group with 30 members who met on Wednesday at  8:30 pm.  They met on Cass Avenue. A group information sheet dated January 11, 1944 lists the same information for the group.  Helen King was the secretary.

In an August 14, 1944 report the Central Group: 30 members who met on Wednesday at 8:30 pm.

A group information card dated February 10, 1947 lists Farley F. as the contact person for the group.  They had 75 members and met on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  Thomas M. was the treasurer of the group.

As of January 28, 1949 the group had 50 members.  They met on Tuesday and Wednesday at 9:00 pm for closed meetings.  Henry G. was the secretary of the group and Bill S. was the treasurer. They met at St. John’s Parish House.

STATUS: Disbanded, 1966.

Map-Central Group Detroit

FootNotes:

  • References: Detroit Free Press; Detroit News; GSO Archives; Greg D., Grosse Pointe, MI
  • © 2013 by Bill T, Archivist, General Service of Southeastern Michigan, Area 33
  • For further information:area33archivist@aa-semi.org