Facelift for NESFA Clubhouse?

The New England Science Fiction Association has voted to spend over $20,000 to cover the front of its clubhouse with James Hardie sheeting. The minutes of the August 5 meeting frankly state —

People question the value of this project. However, our front is uninviting; it looks abandoned.

Google Maps’ snapshot of the property doesn’t show much, but if the Clerk of the NESFA says it’s so, who’s going to argue?

Strange to think I’ve never visited there. I must add put that on my bucket list.


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8 thoughts on “Facelift for NESFA Clubhouse?

  1. I remember during the 2nd Aquacon in Anaheim, Jeanne Gomoll regretted the convention site being so far from the Burbank Blvd. clubhouse, as she very much wanted to see it, so I drove her from Anaheim to North Hollywood and back so that she could. The LASFS clubhouse has definitely been on many fen’s Bucket List, as that was 31 years ago.

  2. Oops — that was on a Thursday night, so she was at a meeting, and not limited to seeing empty buildings from the outside.

  3. Freehafer Hall had interior wood paneling, not fibre-cement, as I’m sure the new clubhouse will have presently, and wall-to-wall “coffee/cola/tea” color patterned carpeting. The main meeting room had tables for the President and Secretary, and lots of folding chairs for the members, many of which had a sponsor’s nameplate on the back; the Treasurer had a half-table and chair just inside the door to collect membership dues and note them in a logbook, and there was also a greenboard for notices or graffiti contests.

    APA-L had its own room off Freehafer Hall, separated with a Dutch door, with a donated Seletric typewriter on which Larry Niven had written many Hugo-winning stories, as well as, I think, a manual typewriter as backup. There were both a spirit duplicator and a mimeograph machine for zine printing, and collation racks on a table.

    There was a radio antenna tower outside the building, painted the same color as it, which I think was eventually sold for the value of the scrap metal, which I think was a shame as I thought that maybe the club could have gotten a Class-D ten-watt educational FM station going and use it. That program of small stations operated by non-profit entities has been cancelled for new licensees, so even with an existing antenna it’s a lost opportunity, although there are some which are still in existence, having been operated continually since the ’70s, such as KWUR-FM at Washington University in St. Louis. (“The 10,000 Milliwatt Giant”)

    Building 4SJ had varying walls, as it was a converted house with the bathtub covered with a painted wooden wall and shelf. The was partial brick facade on the outside, lots of throw rugs, and the interior walls were all painted. There was stefnal and fannish art in frames on the walls, and lots of comfy chairs and couches., plus one room full of shelving and books, the club library.

    There was a telephone nook with a seat, on which I personally took a call from Joe Haldeman to give him directions to the clubhouse, and a call from Robert Heinlein asking for Bruce Pelz. Anyone nearby could answer the ‘phone, so I would sing the club initials to the Close Encounters five-note theme, and then ask “May I help you?”

    I did that when Mr. Heinlein called, and when he identified himself and asked for Bruce, I had a panic attack, calling out for someone to fetch Bruce now, realizing that I had just been smart-alec to *G*O*D*.

    Both buildings had toilets, named “Communicado” and “Disposed”, as in “He or she is in….”

    The external mailbox had a drop-floor, so that delivered mail and packages would collect in a space only openable with a key. There were three parking spaces which were auctioned for reserved use each month.

    So, yes, the buildings were inviting to visiting fans. Not all the members were inviting, to be sure, but nobody could complain about their physical surroundings, which were a tribute to Bruce Pelz’s fund-raising and organizational skills and to each member’s individual willingness to contribute for the common good.

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