40-77 The Gate Lodge, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens / The Gate Lodge, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, The Birthplace of Alcoholics Anonymous
Side A: Completed in 1915, the Gate Lodge is one of several service buildings located at Stan Hywet Hall dedicated to the operations of the estate. Located at the front entrance gates, this two-story Tudor Revival structure was designed by the Seiberlings’ architect Charles S. Schneider. Originally, the Gate Lodge served as a residence for the estate’s superintendent. The first to fill this role was William Dennis who moved in with his family to the Gate Lodge after its completion and resided there until his death in 1923. Between 1923 and 1944, Fred, the eldest child of F.A. and Gertrude Seiberling, lived in the Gate Lodge with his wife Henrietta and their three children. In 1935, Henrietta brought here the two men who would formally found Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson of New York and Dr. Bob Smith of Akron.
Side B: On Mother’s Day in 1935, Henrietta Buckler Seiberling arranged for her friend Dr. Bob Smith to meet Bill Wilson in the Gate Lodge at Stan Hywet Hall. An active member of the West Hill Oxford Group, Henrietta was involved in the “alcohol squad.” She knew these two men had struggled with alcoholism and introduced them in the hope that together they would begin the road to recovery. This and subsequent meetings by Dr. Smith and his wife Anne, Bill Wilson, Henrietta, and several other members resulted in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). The initial gathering has been described as one of the most significant events of the twentieth century. Henrietta’s leadership role in the formation of the AA secured her place in the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.