Stepping Stones, the home of Bill and Lois Wilson, respective co-founders of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Al-Anon Family Groups, was on Wednesday announced as a newly designated national historic landmark.
Already on the register of state and national historic places, the Wilson home, which since 1990 has been operated by the Stepping Stones Foundation, was added as one of 26 sites that have "exceptional value and quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States," according to a national parks service press release.
In his announcement, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said "During the 47 years the Wilsons lived here, A.A. grew exponentially, spreading within and outside of the United States, with Bill Wilson serving as the leader of the movement."
There are 2,527 designated national historic landmarks and 592 national natural landmark sites across the country.
Annah Perch, executive director for the foundation, said she was thrilled because the status not only recognizes the historical significance and importance of the site, but enables the organization to continue the site's preservation by pursuing grant funding available only to nationally landmarked places.
Perch also said it was exciting for Stepping Stones to join the John Jay Homestead State Historic site as the Town of Bedford’s recognized National Historic Landmarks.
“The people of this community are understandably proud of its local history,” said Perch. “From the earliest days of the American Revolution to the most influential social and spiritual movement of the twentieth century, this area has important stories to tell.”
At the same time, the home of "Dr. Bob," also known as the Dr. Robert and Anne Smith House in Akron, Ohio, was granted national landmark status. Dr. Bob’s Home is associated with Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith (Dr. Bob) who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous with Bill Wilson. Perch said the double designations were significant.
"One of the most influential social and spiritual movemens of modern times can be traced back to these two men," she said.
The foundation is in talks with the town of Bedford over proposed changes in parking to the museum, which currently is open 12 p.m. - 3 p.m., Mon. - Sat. and Sundays by appointment.