Archives: They’re on the Wagon

Dr. Bob’s 2nd Talk in Detroit

Webster Hall Hotel

In 1942 the members of Alcoholics Anonymous in Detroit decided to hold a celebration to mark a milestone of recovery in Detroit. It was to be held in the skid row area of Detroit where AA was born and nurtured in our area. They selected the Webster Hall Hotel.

The Webster was a world renowned hotel for the fact it had the world’s first indoor swimming pool. It was located on the corner of Putnam Street and Cass Avenue. Eventually it was bought by Wayne State University and turned into Mackenzie Hall, a dorm for students. It was not configured properly for a dormitory and it was demolished and a parking structure built in its place.

The event was held on April 12, 1942. This would be Dr. Bob’s, co-founder of AA, 2nd major talk in Detroit, his first was held in the basement of the Bensons with 25 people in attendance.

There were approximately 400 people in attendance for the dinner and talk. It was estimated at the time that there were 37000 members worldwide, 250 “solid” members in the Detroit area, with another 100 members on the “fence.”

Not only were there attendees from Detroit, but from outlying Michigan, Akron, Cleveland, but Windsor as well. This early event would show the unity and support we would give to each other.


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  • © 2013 by Bill T, Archivist, General Service of Southeastern Michigan, Area 33
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