The Pima Alano Club
A Brief History

  In 1985 the Tucson Area Intergroup Association, the co-ordinating body for A.A. in Tucson, published a well-researched little book entitled Mark on the Gate, The History of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Tucson Area, Arizona. Among other things, it provides a valuable history of The Pima Alano Club.

  During the winter of 1942-1943, Ham B. and his wife Marian moved from Van Nuys, California, to Tucson, where Ham was to assume his new duties at David-Monthan [sic] Army Air Field. He was a captain in the Army Air Corps, and a stocky, pleasant, quiet-spoken man of about thirty-five.1

  Soon after the war was over, Ham and Marian made a nostalgic visit to Tucson, and were warmly welcomed. They returned to live in their home in California, but continued to have a special feeling for Tucson A.A. At Ham’s death, his family donated two large plaques upon which the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions were printed. They hang in the Alano Club meeting room today. This gift is additional evidence of the gratitude Ham and his family felt for A.A. in Tucson, for providing him with an opportunity to carry the message here. Marian kept in touch with Tucson and began receiving a monthly bulletin issued by Tucson’s Intergroup when it was established. She continued receiving the bulletin until her death in the early 1980s.2

And those two plaques still hang in the Pima Alano Club meeting hall, somewhat the worse for the wear, though, having spent many years in (formerly) smoke-filled rooms.

  Close to the end of 1946, Frank O. offered to donate an attractive house he owned for use as a club. It was located at 237 E. Third Street, at the corner of Arizona Avenue. The idea was enthusiastically accepted by the group, and a charter was drawn up with Fred N., Dick D. and George D. as founding officers of the Alano Club.3

The Alano Club’s first location, 237 East Third Street (now University Blvd.) at Arizona Avenue as it looks today – still doing its best to remain anonymous.

  Initial Incorporators: The following named persons were elected as Officers of said Corporation at a meeting of the Membership held on the 18th day of November, 1946, to serve in their various capacities until their successors were elected, to-wit:


Richard J. D—————


George E. D—————


Fred R. N—————4

From the Arizona Corporation Commission web site at

  The Alano Club opened early in 1947 with Jane C. and her husband Art as caretakers. Jane recalls that there were meetings three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The door was always open, and members dropped in for coffee whenever they were in the neighborhood.5

  Then there were activities at the Alano Club that no one seemed to be able to control. With no traditions to guide the members, rules and policies were either too lax or were not enforced. Some card playing with moderately high stakes went on, although it was against the rules. No one was really responsible for the activities there, and every one had different ideas about how to correct the situation. These feelings spilled over into A.A. itself, despite Frank O.’s wise caution, “A.A. and the Alano Club are like ham and eggs. They go well together but they are separate entities.”6

  The situation could not last for long. By September, Jeanne H. had been elected to the position of secretary and there was no more talk of paid group officers. However, without the support of the members who had pulled away, the Tucson Group could not keep the Alano Club operating. It closed its doors in December of 1949.7

  After the first Alano Club closed down, the Tucson Group met at various locations. They had a few meetings at the Music Club, and a few at Trinity Church.8

  Bob B. moved to Tucson in March 1953 from Kansas City. He immediately looked up A.A. and joined the Old Pueblo Group.
  Bob had enjoyed friendship in a club for alcoholics in Kansas City, and he became interested right away in establishing a club here. There was opposition. Many said, “We tried that and it didn’t work.” But Bob believed it would work this time. In October, Flip B. moved out west from Minneapolis. He, also, was interested in getting a club started. Bob and Flip found a suitable building on North Palo Verde. In March 1954, they were open for business, although it wasn’t easy to make ends meet for the first few months. “We scratched!” said Flip.
  The opening of the club split the Old Pueblo Group in two. Fitz and Frank L. disapproved of the club and pulled away to form the Friendship Group. Ironically Fitz came, in time, to appreciate the advantages of the club. “I want some of that,” he said. He not only joined but became a trustee on the board, a position he filled many times.
  The Old Pueblo and University Square Groups began meeting at the club as soon as it opened. Margaret C., who attended her first meeting there, remembered a nickel stuck to the floor. Everyone spotted it and tried to pick it up.9

Tucson city directories from the late 1950s show the Alano Club at 1030 North Palo Verde Boulevard which would be just south of Speedway Boulevard on the east side of the street. Whatever building stood there stands no longer and that address would be in the middle of a parking lot which now belongs to a car dealership.

  ...during that year of 1957...the Tucson Group discontinued their phone line. In the same year, the group moved their meeting place from the Women’s Club to the Alano Club on Palo Verde.10

  The Alano Club had moved in 1960 to a new location at 1425 N. Alvernon... It was part of a complex consisting of a row of apartments along the south side, an open courtyard, and the club building on the northern side.11

The Club’s location starting in 1960, 1425 North Alvernon Way as it looks today – the northern side is to the right in this photograph.

  In December [1969], the first [Christmas] Alkathon was held at the Alano Club. Food and meetings were available around the clock to those who might otherwise have had nowhere to go on their Christmas holiday. Each group hosted an hour’s meeting. One year later, in 1970, the idea was expanded to include a New Year’s Alkathon as well.12

  In 1970 the Alano Club moved to its present location at 4405 E. Pima Street, to buildings which were purchased from the Christian Fellowship Church. Lon R., Howard N. and new member Jack D. were all active in arranging the purchase. Jack is the son of Bea D., who had participated with the other Triple A [Alcoholics Anonymous Auxiliary] women in the ‘50s in putting together the Triple A booklet.
  Another who was instrumental in negotiating for the club was old-time member Marshall C., who had first come into the program in 1947.
  Lon remembered that the move was made a week before Christmas, 1970. After the Friday night meeting, everything was loaded into pickups and trailers and moved to the new location. With the help of Al-Anon members the furniture was cleaned and the meeting room was set up in time for the Saturday night meeting.13

A recently re-discovered black-and-white photograph of the Pima Alano Club dated, in the upper right, "8/26/71."

  In 2016, The Alano Club was reincorporated as The Pima Alano Club because that's what everbody's been calling it for a long time now.

1: The Tucson Area Intergroup Association of Tucson, Arizona, Mark on the Gate, The History of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Tucson Area (Tucson: TAII, 1985), page 1.

2: Ibid., page 14.

3: Ibid., page 15.

4: The Pima Alano Club, Restated Articles of Incorporation (Tucson: PAC, 2016), Article VII, Section 5.

5: The Tucson Area Intergroup Association of Tucson, Arizona, Mark on the Gate, The History of Alcoholics Anonymous in the Tucson Area (Tucson: TAII, 1985), page 16.

6: Ibid., page 22.

7: Ibid., page 23.

8: Ibid., page 25.

9: Ibid., page 29.

10: Ibid., page 37.

11: Ibid., page 46.

12: Ibid., page 56.

13: Ibid., page 61.

as of February 23, 2019

©2017, The Pima Alano Club, Inc.