Cheryl Morgan has posted an entertaining answer to someone who asked her whether it’s time for the Bay Area SF Association to start a Building Fund and get its own clubhouse. (Short answer: They’ve had a building fund for years.)
The fan, as part of his question, says “four science fiction clubs in the United States own their own clubhouse (NESFA, LASFS, BSFS and SFSFS).” That’s not correct anymore.
Many fans heard in 1997 about the South Florida Science Fiction Society (SFSFS) joining the ranks of sf clubs with their own clubhouse. Fewer heard that in 2001, due to a lack of funds, SFSFS moved out of its clubhouse and resumed a nomadic existence. Despite the Fanac.org site having posted that information, it doesn’t register because the main page on the history of the original 1997 clubhouse leaves readers with the impression that there is a clubhouse to this day.
A second fine point that should be made about the statement that four sf clubs in the U.S. own/owned clubhouses is that, in hindsight, there is doubt that SFSFS ever owned a clubhouse. The public perception in 1997 when SFSFS announced the original one-room clubhouse in Fort Lauderdale was that they owned the place, but if that was the case why did the club remain there such a short time?
Only two years later, in 1999, the group relocated to three rented rooms with a bathroom and kitchen, paying $400/month until June 2001 when the club left and moved its stuff into storage. Sadly, they could not keep up payment on the storage facility either, and in 2003 announced plans to sell off their library (see File 770 #142, page 21), reportedly 6000 volumes of fanzines and books.
It seems likely that only three sf clubs in the U.S. ever owned a clubhouse. Other groups have rented club facilities for a time. For just one of many examples, the New Jersey SF Society rented meeting space until 1998, then gave it up when they could no longer afford the rent. LASFS rented meeting places at times throughout its history before acquiring a clubhouse in 1973. Actual ownership of their clubhouses is what distinguishes LASFS, NESFA and BSFS from a lot of sf clubs that also have regular meeting places.
Update 4/9/2008: Further checking confirmed that SFSFS’ first clubhouse was taken under a 2-year lease rather than purchased.