National Register of Historic Places; National Historic Landmark
OPEN TO PUBLIC:
Stepping Stones is nationally significant under NHL Criterion 1 for its association with Alcoholics Anonymous, the recovery group whose mission is to assist alcoholics in finding and maintaining sobriety and under NHL Criterion 2 for its association with William Griffith (Bill) Wilson and Lois Burnham Wilson. Along with Dr. Robert (Bob) Smith, Bill Wilson was a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and the author of four books, including the bestseller, Alcoholics Anonymous (1939). Wilson disseminated the idea of alcoholism as a disease among the general public and his Twelve Steps program became a model for the treatment of addiction. Through the Twelve Steps program, AA has enabled, and continues to enable, millions of people around the world to achieve and maintain permanent sobriety. Wilson and Smith also helped significantly alter the public’s perception and understanding of alcoholism and alcoholics. Although AA promoted and continues to promote the idea of anonymity, Wilson---or Bill W. as he became known to AA members—became both the public face of AA and an inspiration for millions of struggling alcoholics.
Lois Wilson, Bill Wilson’s wife, was the co-founder of Al-Anon Family Groups, the self-help group for family members of alcoholics, and the founder of Alateen, a group for the children of alcoholics. Like AA, Al-Anon and Alateen have also grown to include an international membership, with chapters in 115 countries.
The Stepping Stones Foundation maintains the historic home exactly as it was left at Lois Wilson’s death and continues to interpret the site based on its original intent. In addition, the Foundation seeks to restore the landscape as closely as possible to its original layout, which included wooded areas and walking paths that reflected the Wilsons’ love of the outdoors and use of walking as a form of meditation. The Stepping Stones Foundation is committed to preserving the site in keeping with its period of historic significance, 1941–1988.