Alcoholics Anonymous Birthplace Opens to Public June 12-13

For the first time, the public will be able to view the Tudor-style cottage where the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) founders came up with the idea for the recovery program nearly 70 years ago, the Associated Press reported June 8.

The Gate Lodge in Akron, Ohio, will be open June 12-13. “It’s such a significant, blessed site,” said Rev. Sam Ciccolini, who works with individuals with alcohol and other drug addiction in Summit County.

The open house is part of this year’s Founders Day weekend. Founders Day is held annually to honor Robert Smith and William Wilson, who started the organization that focuses on sobriety through faith and fellowship.

Today, the Gate Lodge is part of the Stan Hywet Estate, which is the family home of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. founder F.A. Seiberling. His daughter-in-law, Henrietta, introduced Smith, a friend of hers, to Wilson through a group called the Oxford Movement, a group of intellectuals who believed in using Christian principals to solve problems.

Gate Lodge has remained a private residence over the years. However, a fundraising campaign has begun to restore the home and create a public exhibit.

“It’s not unusual to see people jump the fence just to touch the building with tears in their eyes,” said curator Mark Heppner.