A few words about Miami A.A. before April 1945, when Anona, Miami’s first club room was born.
In preface let us make clear that this information was furnished from the ONLY written records available, those of the old Alcoholic Foundation, the present General Service Office and the private files of Bill W., thru his secretary, Nell Wing. Therefore, they may not be just exactly as some may remember them, but the following can all be authenticated by written documents, copies of which are on file in Miami.
April, 1940. Roger Garrett wrote New York for help. This is the FIRST inquiry of record in the files, and in July of the same year Agnes Thomson (a non-alcoholic) wrote for help for her husband, Joe. Joe T. and Roger G. as a team, began to handle other inquiries both local and from New York.
A Frank Plummer, and probably other A.A.’s , visited Miami, and written New York, before Roger and Joe, but now, when any out-of-town A.A was coking to Miami, New York directed them to these two. So when Joe Munn wrote for information and help, he was sent to these two. They had established a GROUP and the first meeting of Record was held Dec. 23, 1940 at Joe T.’s home and was attended by Roger G., Carl Shotter, a visitor from Houston, Texas, and Charlie Crossland, here as a visitor from New York.
Four Months later, April 1941, almost a year to the day when Roger G. first wrote for help a regular Group “the Miami Group” was meeting every Monday night at the M.B. of C. where Joe’s wife worked.
Joe Munn became one of the regulars and by July 1941 there were 10 members. Inn August, 25 to 30, with 19 at every meeting. In November, 40 members, including Fred Kautzman. By March ‘42, Bill W. mad the first of two visits here and tells of two meetings a week, averaging 45 each, Sundays at the Musician’s Hall, Thursdays at the Olympia Building, with occasional meeting at someone’s home.
1943 brought growing pains and complaints from some of the wives because they could not attend, and in early 1944, Bruce H. and some others started Group #2, later the Sunshine Group. In April 1944 Basil Abrams notified New York that the original Group was hunting “permanent quarters,” and in may of ‘44 Bill W. was here again with his wife, Lois.
And in April of 1945, Sylvia Lathero is Corresponding Secty, Fred Kautzman is Executive Secty., of the combined Groups of Miami, the beginning of Inter Group, and they have 5 District Secretaries, through whom they assign 12 step calls. And with the forming of the Central Office or Intergroup HEADQUARTERS WERE AT ANONA. Anona was the heart of all A.A. in Miami. Chas. Moyer was the First President of Anona Club.
Among others who corresponded with New York during these early years, were Naon Craft, Lee Thorndyke, and Chester Caldwell and with ANONA as headquarters by 1950, only 5 short years after the founding of ANONA, there were nine active groups in Miami listed with the Inter Group, among them the North Side, Central, Downtown, Boulevard, Hialeah and Coral Way.
From: “Henry” Ford Denver, 1975