(1) A Hoax Venue
Let Bob Tucker explain:
The scheme for a fannish hotel was hatched about 1952 when hotel prices began climbing after the expiration of price controls. A room that cost $5 last year suddenly jumped to $8 and then to $10 the next year. Fans were outraged of course because those rooms contained the same pictures and the same wallpaper as in years past. I began a campaign to build our own hotel and move it from city to city — wherever the next convention was being held. Rooms would remain at $5 per night and the hotel staff would have to pass inspection by the fans to obtain and keep their jobs.
The idea became popular and a group of British fans advanced to the next step: they designed a set of blueprints for the hotel. The credits list Ken Slater, James White, Vince Clarke, Chuch Harris, Bob Shaw and Walt Willis as Grinders, while Bob Shaw drew up the plans. Copies of those plans have been published in various period fanzines (including Fancyclopedia II) and were republished last year in the Neo-Fans Guide by the Kansas City fan club. The original blueprints were sold at auction at some ’50s Worldcon but neither the con nor the buyer are now remembered.
Some clever joker in Minneapolis fandom began a mail campaign to send me bricks — bricks to build the hotel and be responsible for its moving and storage. I had a post-office box at the time and over a period of a year or so I received about 60 bricks in parcel post packages. I stored them behind my garage for safekeeping. And then another joker in Minneapolis fandom capped the joke by denouncing me as a brick-hoarder — he urged fans to send me straw to make my own bricks. Many envelopes stuff with straw arrived in the mail. Fans are an inventive lot.