Saturday, May 16, 2015, 9:00 AM – today – was a great day for Alano. Alano participated in the first ever Preservation Expo 2015 in St. Joseph, Missouri. Our participation was limited to inviting Preservation Expo participants into our building for one hour, 9-10 AM. We learned a few things.
The preservation community is very supportive of the work we are doing to restore our building. There were around fifty different people who toured the building. They did not come as a single group but rather came in groups of two to six. These people were greeted by several Alano volunteers who represented our mission very,very well. I, for one, was completely satisfied and happy at the strong representation our group gave on behalf of all of us. Those people who served as greeters and chaperones were: Jeff C., Danny B. Julie B., and Greg B. All of us should be proud of the mature and thoughtful work of these brave souls.
Groups of people mingled in our facility for some time, taking pictures of our fireplaces, woodwork, ornamental door and window hardware, and our original ornate chandeliers. Each of the groups was accompanied by one of our volunteers. The discussion were casual and informative. Some of the visitors offered us further insight into our building and the history of the Hax family.
One lady lives in a sort of companion home – that is to say that she lives in a Krug home of the same vintage. A Hax was married to a Krug and George Hax, the original owner of our building, was in the meat packing business with the Krugs. Our visitor noted that the stairwell in her home is identical to the main stairwell at Alano. She informed us that contrary to popular belief, not all of the ornate wood decor was labored over by St. Joseph craftsmen with hammers and chisels. In the late 1800’s one could order fireplace mantels and stairwells from companies in such far away places as Chicago. The identical stairwells suggest that perhaps these items were shipped in from out of town.
The same lady does gardening across the street at the Wyeth-Tootle Museum. She offered to trim our rose bushes to help them thrive. I was happy to accommodate – clearly she knows what she is doing. She also noted our iris’s on the front garden and commented that the Iris is becoming popular in our neighborhood – along with cannas. It is time for canna planting and she offered to share some with Alano. Being neighborly is a wonderful thing. We are grateful for the neighborhood support.
Two gentlemen we spoke with were knowledgeable about some of our history. I told them that Ms. Hax bequeathed the building to the St. Joseph Art Society in 1947 and Alano acquired the building in 1948. These men informed us that Ms Hax was very active and generous with the local art community. The same St. Joseph Art Society started what is now the Albright-Kemper Museum of Art. Anyone heard of that?
Several important things happened at our property this morning. We were able to show the restoration work we have been laboring hard to complete. We were able to effectively tell the Alano story and to educate many people about our mission. And we saw four volunteers rise to the occasion, they represented Alano and 12 Step Programs as enthusiastic, mature, responsible, knowledgeable, and caring people. The Alano image was greatly enhanced by the work of all of the people who have contributed time, labor, money, and encouragement to the ongoing process of restoring the interior of the building. And particularly by these four volunteers that served as ambassadors for all of us.
We created alliances with our neighbors today. These alliances shall serves us well as we progress into the future.
FYI – We used a fact sheet so we each told the same story – the following are the facts as were presented today:
Alano Club Fact sheet 2015
July 17, 1948 Chartered by the State
Acquired property at 401 S. 11th Street
August, 1949 Building opened as Alano Mercy Hospital
1956 Ceased hospital operations
Shifted focus to support for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
May 1965 Tri-Al-Anon formed
1991 Building repainted beige
1993 Bylaws amendment to allow Al-Anon member on Board of Directors
1995 Tri-Al-Anon moved to Patee Park Baptist Church
1997 New roof installed with City Grants
1998 Front Porch rebuilt with City Grants
2002 Charter amended to allow all 12 Step Programs.
Pony Express Gamblers Anonymous began
2006 Renovation of second floor room for Narcotics Anonymous
Stepping Stones NA formed
2010 First floor parquet wood floor restoration
2011 Stepping Stones becomes Opportunity-4-Hope
2012 Wrought Iron Fence Restoration
2014 January – New Hope Alano formed
July – Interior restoration begins with Alanon Room.
November – Restoration of main hall begins
2015 April – Restoration of Gamblers Anonymous room begins.