Hey, did you know that you can go on a tour of Dr. Bob’s house? You should go! But check the reviews before you make plans, and make sure you scroll down and read them all, just so you get a clear idea of all the wonders that this pilgrimage promises…

Yahoo! Travel: Dr. Bob’s Home – Akron, Ohio

Thank you, causeandeffect!


  • DeConstructor

    It would be cool if they put a bar in the basement like Cheers!

  • I tried to leave a review echoing that every alcoholic should make at least one visit during their sobriety. Just as Muslims are encouraged to make at least one visit to Mecca. AA is a religion and Dr Bob’s House is its place of pilgrimage.

  • Oh, I saw that Hyacinth! I was wondering who wrote that. 🙂

  • SoberPJ

    The first comment from Yahoo Travel that just wreeks of nostalgic wisdom ..

    ” Everyone must visit Dr Bob’s Home at least once in their sobriety. It was the very first Sober Home. ”

    That’s right people. In the annals of all human history, Dr. Bob’s house was the very first Sober Home. Now THAT’s special…

  • PJ, check the headline of that first comment. A little subversive, don’t you think?

  • Dr Bob’s Home, 855 Ardmore Ave, Akron, OH 44302 – Offical website:

  • Jonny Quest

    Mayflower Hotel, Akron Ohio. Not open to the public, but they will let in AA pilgrims who want to look at a replica of the phone that Bill used to call Reverend Tunks, which ultimately led to Dr. Bob.

  • His daughter, Sue Smith, wrote a less than complimentary book about him, which is quoted in the orange papers. Is that on display there?

  • AnnaZed

    I can’t, I just cant. After this post:

    Where history shows how alcoholism was cured
    By A Yahoo! Contributor, 12/18/05
    Dr. Bob’s Home and the annex next to it are far more than monuments or memorials or inspirational retreats. When you go there, as I have done many times, you have an opportunity to see what can still be done for an alcoholic today. It doesn’t require a pretentious hospital or rehab. For here a loving wife and her husband crammed scores of seemingly hopeless drunks into an all-too-small “halfway house;” fed them scanty meals from a tiny kitchen; showered them with godly concern and discipline; taught them about our Creator’s love, power, forgiveness, guidance, and Word; steered them away from temptation; insisted on moral behavior; and required the high price of real treatment–love and service to others. Go to Dr. Bob’s Home for a lesson that neither money, nor treatment, nor textbooks, nor therapy hold a candle to, compared to what a few drunks can do for each other when they acknowledge that alcohol is the enemy, temptation is the snare, sin is the enticement, God is the solution, and the principles of living love and practicing service to the glory of the Creator assure a cure when nothing else works.

    I was throwing up in my mouth a little; though I will say that the poster was certainly telling the truth about AA. “…alcohol is the enemy, temptation is the snare, sin is the enticement, God is the solution…” I heard that many, many, many times in AA.

  • Egad, JRH, is there any where that pilgrims can touch his bones?

  • Disclosure

    I used to have a bad disease; it made me want to go to Akron Ohio. Thanks to Stinkin’ Thinkin’ I’m all better and want to go to nice places with culture, diversity, climate, economy, and world class restauraunts.

    Seriously though…
    I remember the ramblings at the meetings from the true believers who made the pilgrimage and returned to tell about it. These were the same people who went year after year to the world conventions. AA wasn’t a way of life for them, it was their life. These people lived for the cult. In their minds AA had given them their lives. Without AA they were hopeless drunks, powerless and completely reliant on a fallible and sometimes deadly alternate belief system of coercion, self deception, and fellowship.

    I’d rather be a stinking thinker than a non thinker any day!

  • Robert Holbrook Smith (August 8, 1879 – November 16, 1950) was an American physician and surgeon who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous with Bill Wilson, more commonly known as Bill W. He was also known as Dr. Bob.[1] He was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, where he was raised, to Susan A. Holbrook and Walter Perrin Smith.[2] After graduation from Dartmouth College in 1902, he completed medical school at Rush Medical College. Smith was married to Anne Ripley Smith, who played a vital role in the development of the 12 steps of AA. Smith co-founded the recovery movement Alcoholics Anonymous with Bill Wilson, in 1935 in Akron, Ohio.


    Does the tour include a sprinkling of holy water from the toilet?

  • Actually Dr Bob’s Home on 855 Ardmore Ave, Akron, OH 44302 may have a public health and zoning violation because of the toilets. It is a residential home in a residential district with only street parking and it is having bus tours bringing followers of the false prophet Bill Wilson. This pilgrimage is over stressing the toilet facilities at that location and are being used in commercial application which they were not designed for.

  • DeConstructor

    It would be awesome if there were a big AA holiday that we could go there and have a protest. Same for Bill W’s house.

    Is there a big anniversary or anything like that which may bring the media to the place?

  • decon. yea I’m …

    lets do it and call they news media. I’ll meet you there.

  • sorry …for my spelling.

  • Mr Tobytwirl

    It’s apt that the 12 step behemoth has a momument in Akron, Ohio given that it was an anakronism even in the 1930s. If Dr Bob was catholic he could have been made the patron saint of assholes.

  • Mr Tobytwirl

    Apologies for the korny pun. On a side note, the word “akron” means “peak” or “summit” in Greek, appropiate for the home of a (false) prophet and place of pilgrimage.

  • Mr Tobytwirl


  • Hyacinth says This is from the OPs on Bob’s daughter:

    Doctor Bob’s own children wrote a book about him, where they described him as a horrible cruel father who ran a badly dysfunctional family. The book is “Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr. Bob’s Kids As Told to Christine Brewer”, by Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows.
    Sue Smith wrote about her childhood:

    The paddle Dad used on us came from a game that had a ball with it. One end of the paddle was big and one end was little. Dad used the little end, the part that hurt like the dickens. Mom would use the big end; it didn’t hurt so much for some reason. Well, Dad found out and he whittled it down so that both ends were the same. He always kept that paddle on an inside shelf of the bathroom closet. It was about a half-inch thick. Like I say, when we got it, we knew it.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob’s Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 49.
    What kind of a sick sadistic alcoholic sits around whittling a paddle with which to beat his children, carving it so that it will cause more pain?

    Sue Smith fought with her father for years over her high-school sweetheart Ray Windows. She was in love with Ray, and only wanted Ray. Doctor Bob didn’t like Ray because he was just a regular, rather unspectacular high-school kid. Sue wrote:

    He told me that “as long as you live in my house, young lady, you’re going to do as I say.” It was the old Vermont chill — he could do it with that voice and those steely blue eyes.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob’s Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 33.

    He grabbed me. He would grab me by the arm and dig those fingernails into me. And he’d give me that look.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob’s Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 49.

    Ernie Galbraith,
    “A.A. Number Four”,
    the constantly-relapsing philanderer whom Dr. Bob shoved on his daughter.

    Doctor Bob got the bright idea of using the older man Ernie Galbraith, A.A. Number Four, to split up Susan and Ray. He asked Ernie to show an interest in Sue, to horn in and break up Sue and Ray. It worked. Ernie was 31 or 32 when Ray and Sue were only 17, so Ernie was able to just heavy Ray out and scare him off. Sue later wrote:

    At that time, Ernie said he was 30. He must have been a little older …
    I was about 17. …
    I didn’t pay any attention to Ernie. I didn’t like him. I thought he was a smarty, you know. He was stout, with reddish hair and a round face with blue eyes. He was outgoing, the life-of-the-party type. Ernie was single then and he kept coming to the house, and I think my dad got the bright idea that if he could get Ernie to take me out, and he’d pay the way, he might be able to get me away from Ray. We’d go down and get hamburgers, and Dad would buy them. I knew all that, but I didn’t realize it was in connection with Ray at the time. Now I think it was. I think Dad was using Ernie, and it backfired on him. …
    Ernie gradually started to have some appeal. He was an older person and he had a good sense of humor. We always had fun. We joked together. He was a real storyteller. He could make my mom and dad laugh like nobody I’ve ever seen, just sitting around the kitchen table, telling stories, and drinking coffee. Like I say, they were pushing me, so I figured they liked him. And that was kind of different.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob’s Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 46.

    Then one time, in the fall of 1937, I went out with Ray, and when I came home Ernie was at the house. I tried to go upstairs without being noticed, but he cornered me in the hall and asked me if I’d been out with Ray. I looked him straight in the eyes and said, “yes.” So, by gosh, if he didn’t whip up and grab me by the arm and get me in the car and drive over to Ray’s apartment. Ray was hanging out on the corner, as usual, with a bunch of the guys. It was a warm night. Ernie got Ray in the car and that was when I broke up with Ray. Ernie just told Ray that Dad didn’t want me to see him, and I don’t remember what the thing was — whether I had to make up my mind or whatever. I don’t remember. I didn’t say much. I couldn’t even look at Ray. Ray says he got the impression that Ernie was taking over and that he was out. But I know that for about three weeks I wasn’t worth a nickel around there, burning the toast and forgetting to put the coffee on. I was grouchy and mean because I had broken up with Ray. I didn’t really want to, but I was beginning to like Ernie then, too. Ray said he never cried in his life, but he did that night.
    Children Of The Healer; The Story Of Doctor Bob’s Kids, Bob Smith and Sue Smith Windows, page 47.
    Heartbroken, Ray Windows ended up joining the Army and going to the South Pacific.

  • That is shocking that Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (aka Dr. Bob the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous) would abuse his children like that with a paddle. I can imagine that they are going to have an abnormally large influx of disciples on June 4th 2011, 6 days away. I wonder how many disciples will ask to see the paddle? I did as search and found something interesting on Amazon:

    “Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr.Bob’s Kids”
    # Paperback: 176 pages
    # Publisher: Hazelden (March 1994)
    # Language: English
    # ISBN-10: 1568383126
    # ISBN-13: 978-1568383125

    It is Strange that Hazelden would be publishing this. I found this review on the book:

    4.0 out of 5 stars A Different Perspective, May 30, 2007
    By Larry C. (Pasadena, Texas United States)
    “This review is from: Children of the Healer: The Story of Dr.Bob’s Kids (Paperback)
    If you are interested in AA history, this book will be a very interesting read. This is not socalled “AA APROVED LITERATURE.” It puts a different perspective on the founders of AA. They were afterall, human beings. “Imperfect people that came up with a way to help millions of other imperfect people to acheive a level of sobriety. The book is out of print, and I was surprised to find a new copy of it.
    If you are one that chooses to hold to the belief that Dr. Bob and Bill W. were saints,then you may wish to pass on this one. It is not a “Mommy Dearest” hatchet job, but simply a look at early AA from two people who were there.”

    According to Hazelden, the book is about:

    “The children of Dr. Bob Smith, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, give a first-person account of the miracle that took place in Akron, Ohio, in 1935, when Dr. Bob had his historic meeting with Bill Wilson. In the years that followed, Bob and Sue would learn that their father’s recovery did not ensure their own. ”

    I wonder if this book is available at the gift shop?

  • Z

    @Decon I love the protest idea. 🙂

  • sally

    I’m sorry everyone but the coincidences are just-too-much-for-me. There really are12 steps leading to the door of Dr. Bob’s House. I’m convinced of the miracles to be had. If you want to stay in the dark, so be it, but I am not going to take my kids to the beach house this summer. Time better spent, and a lesson learned for all of us, if go to Akron instead. My kids will thank me for this later, I’m sure.

  • Jonny Quest

    $50 to anyone who goes to Dr. Bob’s house with a Stinkin’ Thinkin’ T-shirt and posts a picture!

  • MA

    My vision is for an AA theme park with all kinds of rides and attractions:

    -“The Spook Room” haunted house, complete with ouija boards.
    -“The Belladonna Blast” 3D ride that takes people up to the mountain top to see God.
    -A “Bullshit Bingo” tent where they call out slogans instead of numbers.
    – “The Drunka-log ride” that seems like it goes on forever.
    – Concession stands that serve coffee that the new people coming into the park have to make for everyone else.

    And don’t forget the toddlers:
    -The memorial Helen Wynn (heavy) petting zoo, complet with guys dressed up as Dr Bob walking around with paddles to spank the kids.

  • Can you smoke on the rides there?

  • MA

    Sure you can smoke! The whole park is a smoking section.

  • I wonder what the Fun House will be like…

  • LUCY

    I think I told you guys that Bob’s son used to come to Al-Anon at our group when he and his wife would come into town from Nocona.

    He would tell one story (“I am the last living person who was at Henrietta Sieberling’s house the night Dad came home with the potted plant, and that makes me the last living person who saw AA being founded ” ) in front of the conventions, and another in the Al-Anon meetings. He talked about being beaten by his dad until he bled, and about having drunks throw up all over his mother’s house. He didn’t like his father, but he seemed to like the idea that he was an AA founder.

    By the way, don’t forget the games on the Midway. How about a WHACK-A-MOLE, – the one they talk about when they say, “I get rid of one character defect and another pops up!”

    THE 15 ITEMS OR LESS CHECK OUT LINE – where AA members claim that 5 cartons of cigarettes and 12 gallons of ice cream count as as two items, but have practice patience just before they get in a fight anyway because the woman ahead of them writes a check.

    THE WALLET IN THE PARKING LOT – An electronic game where the players have’t worked in two years but are able to pay their bills if they find a wallet in the parking lot to prove that God loves them.

    MATERIALISM GAUNTLET – The players, having avoided all forms of work for many years, must come up with as many reasons as possible to explain the superiority of the spiritual life over those who are gainfully employed before their parents, the government or theirs spouses kick them out of the house.

    TUNNEL OF LOVE – Newcomer men an women must match the holes in their head to the rocks in the heads of potential partners before the end of the first year or be considered the only people in AA who actually waited.

  • Disclosure

    Isn’t tunnel of love the ride where man meets woman on AA campus?

  • The very first AA Intergoup founded in 1935 that proudly proclaims “Birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous.” They appear to be the protectors and promoters of the AA shrine “Dr. Bob’s House” in Akron Ohio. They organize the chanting of the prophet Bill Wilson in church basements all over Akron Ohio.

    “Akron Intergroup Council of Alcoholics Anonymous”, 775 North Main Street, Akron, Ohio 44310.

  • One person on there commented that this is the place alcoholism was cured or something like that – hmm I wanted to pull them up on it… according to AA there is no cure just a… oh you all know that. On a serious note, it was a bit creepy reading all those reviews. Glad to be out of it all.

    B l A m E

  • Very interesting – the first AA intergroup which was started in Akron, Ohio in 1935 also considers themselves Activists in the preservation and spreading of the history and artifacts of the prophet Bill Wilson for the good of mankind. I wonder if any of the “Akron Intergroup Council of Alcoholics Anonymous”, uses wicca as a Higher Power?

    The Mission of the Akron A.A. Archives:

    * To preserve the A.A. message and carry it to other alcoholics.
    * To preserve the history of our fellowship to prevent distortion.
    * To cooperate with and support other A.A. archives and archivists working within A.A.’s service structure and the 12 Traditions.

  • sally

    “AND FOR THE MOMENT I WISHED THE WHOLE WORLD COULD HAVE BEEN SOBER” and than I realized that I wouldn’t be special anymore, so I squashed that wish out.

  • Lucy

    yes, Disclosure, it is. But it take the right match – One has to have rocks in his head that match the holes in hers.

    Then it’s AA magic.

  • Very interesting page on the Akron Intergroup Council of Alcoholics Anonymous website. They sell and distribute non “conference approved” literature as “Pre-Conference Approved” literature in the “Birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous.” The literature was produced by members before there was such a thing as “conference approved” and believe it is exempt because of this. I believe that other Intergroups have gotten in trouble for this in the US and UK. Germany comes to mind.

    Just because it was written before “conference approved” was invented, does not mean that it can not be approved now. I wonder if this has ever been brought up at a GSO conference?

  • DeConstructor

    Perhaps there might be bumper cars for euphoric recall of the fun of drunk driving……

    Maybe a kissing booth with a crazy cat lady with no teeth.

    Ans most of all, this carnival would need a sideshow of AA people that would make the ‘people of Walmart’ seem tame.

  • limestoneblocks

    I know 3 girls that made the pilgrimage to Akron.

    A. That’s just plain weird.
    B. Sounds like the most boring trip ever.

  • hulahoop

    sally says “AND FOR THE MOMENT I WISHED THE WHOLE WORLD COULD HAVE BEEN SOBER” and than I realized that I wouldn’t be special anymore, so I squashed that wish out.

    Round trip airfare, rental car, a night in an average hotel, food, and a Stinkin Thinkin shirt = approximately $500.00.

    Sally’s comment = priceless.

    I don’t know about the neighbors around Dr. Bob’s house, but it seems like I recently read the neighbors around Bill’s old house are pissed off about the parking issues.

  • We might hafta be careful with bumper cars–and/ or go karts:

  • causeandeffect

    Lucy, “THE 15 ITEMS OR LESS CHECK OUT LINE.” It’s so weird how it’s the same all over. There is a woman here with 30 years in AA who just figured out how to not show her ass when someone has 16 items in the express checkout line. She brags about it every time she shares. 30 years! to figure that out. I must not be a real alcoholic because I already had that mastered.

  • I think they forgot something at the gift store of Dr. Bob’s home…………..

    Bill W. Bobbleheads are available from the following stores & websites:

    They are sold at 2 Intergroup sites and numerous AA cheap gimmick stores. The two Intergroups selling this piece of valuable history currently are :

    Dallas AA Central Office
    6162 E. Mockingbird Ln
    Suite 213
    Dallas, TX 75214

    Chicago Area Service Office
    200 N. Michigan Ave.
    Suite 501
    Chicago, IL 60601

  • Well I couldn’t find any Bobbleheads at the Dallas AA website, but at the Chicago AA website for the mere price of $15.00 (plus shipping and handling) you to can put a Bill W. bobblehead on your dashboard to remind you of the serenity you are going to be getting when you are tell your drunkalog.

  • Stepper No More

    Door H. Knob! I used to know someone who’d made a Billgrimage to Akron, too. It all seems so weird, now…

    I don’t think too many active AA members know the dirt on Bob. Bill, yes — quite a few steppers seem to be aware that he was an SOB (but they’re extremely grateful to him, anyway.) But for some reason, Bob gets whitewashed at meetings — it’s as if they need him to be the good cop.

  • It would appear that the other pilgrimage AA Shrine ” called “Stepping Stones” in Bedford Hills (Katonah), New York is still having problems with its parking. They are upset that a car wash and a 7,000 sq. ft. office building is being built next door:

    Bedford-Hatonah Patch. July 4, 2011 By Tom Bartley

    “The Bedford planning board approved last week plans for a new car wash as well as a 7,000-square-foot office building to replace the landmark Deer Park Tavern, destroyed in a January 2010 fire, and a proposed change to the exterior lights at Key Bank on Bedford Road.

    In addition, board members heard from neighbors of Stepping Stones—the former home of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson and his wife, Lois—who are unhappy with, among other things, plans to install a 14-space parking area.”


    “Stepping Stones. Longtime neighbors led by Diane S. Briganti opposed the parking lot proposed by Stepping Stones executive director Annah Perch. “I can see Annah’s house from where I live,” Briganti said. “Will I see cars parked there? Of course I will.” She and a couple who live nearby appeared Tuesday to oppose a special-use permit under consideration by the town board, which has asked the planning board for advice on the matter. A half-dozen neighbors turned out for an April town board meeting, complaining that traffic, parking and crowds have become “horrendous” at Stepping Stones, a mecca for the world’s recovering alcoholics.”


  • Akron Ohio is also trying to promote another AA Shrine called “Gate Lodge” the “site of the first meeting of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

    Founders day weekend is an especially busy time for this AA Shrine with members of AA doing a pilgrimage to the Gate Lodge, Dr. Bob’s home on Ardmore Avenue and Mount Peace Cemetery in West Akron at the site of Dr. Bob’s grave. “Founders’ Day activities will include a motorcycle procession to the grave and a memorial service.”

    Read all about it (with pictures):

  • AA co-founder’s grave still a draw – June 9, 2008 By Jim Carney AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

    “his is the picture of gratitude at a cemetery on a Sunday morning in Akron.

    It is a scene where thousands of men and women gather around the grave of the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and his wife, Dr. Robert and Anne Smith.

    There are hundreds — perhaps 2,000 — motorcycles with their engines blaring, converging on Mount Peace Cemetery on Aqueduct Street before most people are out of bed.

    Every year on Founders’ Day weekend, when 12,000 or more recovering alcoholics make their pilgrimage to Akron to remember the date in June 1935 when AA was founded in the city, the bikers drive into the normally quiet cemetery.

    So do tour buses. And cars from dozens of states and countries.

    People visit the grave all weekend. On Saturday night about 10:30, cars were driving into the cemetery for evening visits to the grave.

    Yesterday, when a bagpiper first played, the crowd understood it was nearly time for the annual memorial service held at the grave of the man known as Dr. Bob.”

    Read more:

  • It would appear that Lois Wilson co-founder of Al-Anon (born Lois Wilson nĂ©e Burnham (4 March 1891 – 6 October 1988) and the wife of Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson does not have as much of a following as her husband. She was born at 182 Clinton Street Brooklyn Heights, New York, 11201.

    Al-Anon members do not pay pilgrimage to this historic structure and it was sold for $2,682,500on Apr 21st, 2010. It was built in 1848 and comprises 3,360 sq.ft. Quite a large building for the time and her parents must have been very wealthy and had 6 children.

    Current picture of the property:

    This property is important because this is the are where the Manhattan Group formed and raised $5000 in 1941 (a very large sum at that time) which helped in the publishing of the book Alcoholics Anonymous by Bill Wilson.

    History and old pictures of 182 Clinton Street Brooklyn Heights, New York, 11201:

  • The house where Bill Wilson was born is now a non-profit pilgrimage site. It is called “The Wilson House” and is located at 378 Village Street, East Dorset, VT 05253. The structure is comprised of 14 guestrooms and a conference room and acts as a “Bed and Breakfast” for AA and AL-ANON meetings and special recovery seminars by appointment only. It appears to be run efficiently and disruption to the surrounding neighbors and infrastructure is minimal. It does not have a “Gift Shop.”