1800s

You may have wondered, when did the first recovery residence open? 

Thanks to historians, we can trace the history of recovery residence to at least the mid-1800s and the society of peers known as the Washingtonians. 

The Washingtonians were a society of “hard drinkers” who emerged in the 1880s within the greater Temperance movement. They pledged to complete abstinence and attempted to persuade others through their lived experience instead of morality or religious lectures. They advocated for empathy and believed that coercion was an ineffective method. Illinois Legislature Abraham Lincoln addressed the Springfield Washington Temperance Society in 1842, praising the Washingtonian movement and methods.

According to Williams White’s book, Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery, the Washingtonians discussed housing for “inebriates” in 1841, and the Home for the Fallen was established in 1857 and the House of Boston was established in 1863.  

Since its known origins, the recovery residence movement has been led by persons in recovery stepping up to meet the needs of the local community.

Course Syllabus

  • 1800s