The late Earl R had been to a sanitarium for alcoholics approximately six times for “the cure”. The last visit his cure only lasted from 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning until noon. When he came back “uncured” Management felt he was giving the place a bad name. They called A.A. for Earl on Saturday, March 19, 1945.Our 1st meeting – March 20, 1945 – was a 12th step call made on the late Earl R by the late Fred F and Norm R. That First meeting was held at Earl’s home, which at that time was on Evans Avenue – that’s how the group got its name.
The group met at homes of one another for about 11⁄2 years. At the end of the first year, the membership had increased to nine members. Meetings were held each week on a regular basis at one of those members’ houses. March, 1946 the 1st Anniversary dinner was held at the Old Hull House, 18 people were present. Nine were the Evans Avenue members plus nine from other groups. The speaker at the event was the late Judge John T.
In late 1946, the first meeting outside the homes was held at Friendship House, 43rd and Indiana Avenue. The group met at Friendship House for about three months, then moved to Parkway Community House, 51st and South Parkway (now known as King Drive). They met once a week on Wednesday nights.
The first split occurred in 1948 – membership had risen to thirty-two, since it was a Discussion Group there was not always enough time for each member to comment. Sixteen members stayed at Parkway Community House Wednesday Night Group and the other sixteen members moved to Ida B. Wells Community House, 436 East 39th Street, forming the Thursday Night Group.
In 1950 the 1st Open Meeting was held on Thursday night at Ida B. Wells Community House. The speakers for the meeting were Chan and Marie F. And thus, the tradition of holding an Open meeting on the last Thursday of each month began and continued until the Tuesday night sectional meetings began.
In this same year one of the members moved to the West Side of Chicago and the expansion of the Evans Avenue groups continued. They met at the home of the late Joe D at Hull House. Joe lived and worked there at that time. A few meetings were held at Hull House, then the group began meeting at Robert Brooks Field House on Monday nights. They met there for quite a while, but then moved to the Gold Dome in Garfield Park where the group still meets.
In August 1954, Evans Avenue Group began meeting at 825 East 50th Street. There were four meetings, Thursday and Friday night, Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. The original Wednesday night group which met at Holy Cross Church, 65th and Maryland Avenue, later moved to St. Sabina Church, 78th and Racine, where it continues to meet on Wednesday night. There was also a night workers meeting held Saturday morning at Corpus Christi Church, 48th and King Drive.
This group was established before the other group moved to 825 East 50th Street. This all lead to the formation of the 825 Club that same year, of which the sole purpose was to provide and maintain a place for meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, who’s membership of the 825 Club was to be open to any member of A.A.
The members of the 825 Club had a dream and a goal of someday owning their own building. In 1961 the meeting place moved from 825 East 50th Street to 7624 South Cottage Grove with now several meetings being held during the week. In October 1974, the dream and goal of the 825 Club was realized when the club brought a building located at 319 East 75th Street. This is when those faithful members vision had become a reality, that we all get to enjoy today. Their dedication and persistence has paved the way… at the time there were 23 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings held at the club weekly, as well as, One Al-Anon and one Alateen meeting. There are also six AA meetings held outside the club.
In 1977 another dream came true to pass - The Evans Avenue/825 Club held its Mortgage Burning Ceremony!
Today we have 35 weekly meetings at the Evans Avenue- 825 Club, as well as 3 Al-Anon meetings.