Originally printed in the 1995 Disclave Souvenir Book
1950 The Washington Science Fiction Association which was then barely three years old, decided to hold a "Conclave" at the Wardman Park Hotel (Which became the Sheraton Park, site of DISCON II and several Disclaves). It was a one day affair held on April 30th. Rocket Scientist Willy Ley was the featured speaker. He and the other dignitary, Pro SF writer Seabury Quinn, were both DC locals and had attended WSFA meetings. The evening was capped off with a showing of the film "THE MUMMY'S HAND. Chair Bob Briggs reported that about 75 attended. He would chair the next three Disclaves.
1951 saw the second Disclave at the Statler Hotel (future site of DISCON I) on April 29th. GOH Sam Moskowitz, Art Rapp and Seabury Quinn got a crowd of 23.
1953 found Disclave back at the Statler on March 22nd. They couldn't get any Pros to attend, so they held a "Proxyclave", that is, letters from writers were read to the 22 Fen who came. It is not surprising that there was a five year gap before they tried again.
1958 We Disclaved for two days at the Arva Motel on Route 50 up the hill from Rosslyn, VA over the Mother's Day weekend, where it would stay until 1970. Chair Bob Pavlat didn't have a Guest of Honor, neither did we have one again until 1965. Bob wrote in the ad flyer, "This is a disorganized conference, no speeches, no banquet." The rooms were $7.00 a night but the con was free. 65 came and partied so hardy on the roof and elsewhere that we did not get to return to the Arva. They changed their mind at the last minute.
1959 was at the Diplomat Motel (now torn down) on New York Avenue near Bladensburg Rd in DC. This year Bob Pavlat, listed himself as "Dictator." As a WSFA group was bidding for the 1960 WorldCon "Capacon" They blew their warchest of $65.00 on party stuff. The club itself also kicked in its entire treasury of $22.00 insure success. 65 came and partied, but we lost the bid. Still, we managed to stay in the same hotel until 1965.
1960 Chair George Scithers let Bob announce that the program would be "The same as last year. That is, none." Which is a tad misleading as, fen used to bring their own program with them. Someone would bring a movie, amateur theater types would make tape (or wire) recordings, someone (Chick Derry) would bring a Mimeo, and turn it over to someone else (Don Studebaker) to put out a one-shot fanzine. They'd all go out "Great Walling" to some unsuspecting Chinese restaurant, come back and party with vigor. George Chaired the next two, then he packed up and left Washington.
1961 40 fen came. I think it was my first Disclave.
1962 Attendance dropped to 32. There was a sort of program in that Linn Carter brayed on and on about Moby Dick. As the crowd would change, he'd recycle. I did a sort of Dadist one-shot called the "Well-Tempered Disclavier." It was really awful. I think (hope) I have the only copy of it left. In 1963 we did DISCON I and couldn't seem to get a Disclave going for the next two years. So the next one was in --
1965 was at the Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge near Wheaton Plaza in Maryland. Chair Banks Mebane broke with tradition and had GOHs: Chris and Sam Moskowitz. It was also the last free Disclave. Even so, Alan Huff was recruited to sit by the Beer tub and collect a buck from any he could. 83 fen came.
1966 was back at the Diplomat, but Chair Jay Haldeman decided to start it on Friday, thus adding a third day. Baltimore Fan/Writer Roger Zelazny was GOH. 99 attended paying their one buck up front. Jay would chair Disclave through 1973.
1967 was held at the Regency Congress. Despite its elegant name, it was a dismal motel wedged close to the edge of New York Avenue overlooking the Washington freight yards. Jack Gaughan was GOH.
1968 For some reason, Disclave was back at the Regency Congress. Robert Silverberg was GOH. Jay Kay Klein wrote a wonderful marathon length Con report (WSFA JOURNAL Sept. 68, reprinted in part, Dec. 1987)
1969 Surprisingly, Disclave was moved to an even more dreadful hotel. The Skyline Inn was in the hellish ghetto off South Capitol Street near the freeway. There was no place to eat within safe walking distance, or any other sort of walking distance. Lester del Rey was GOH, but the con is most noted for the conception of the International Cookie Conspiracy as a means of feeding fen trapped inside a Hotel.
1970 Naturally we returned to the Skyline Inn for the May 15- 17th con. "Murray Leinster" (Will Jenkins) was GOH. Jay would make him GOH for DISCON II as well, perhaps as recompense. The ICC kept everyone from starving.
1971 Jay cut a deal with the Shoreham (across the street from the old Sheraton Park), a wonderful old hotel with large, clean rooms in a safe neighborhood. Terry Carr was GOH. This was the first Memorial Day weekend Disclave, complete with another night and day to "dead dog." So from here on it's a four day affair.
1972 With Ben Bova as GOH, we moved across the street to the Sheraton Park thanks to visions of DISCON II sugarplums in the manager's brain. The Sheraton Park was modeled on Gormanghast or perhaps some drawing by Escher. You could walk from the lowest part of the hotel basement to the 8th floor of the Motel. This was the home of the fabled C-640 Con suite, which allowed Disclave to build its tradition of real hospitality. We stayed there until they tore it down around our ears.
1973 Gardner Dozois was GOH. This was Jay Haldeman's last Disclave. The next year he would move to Florida despite the fact that he was Chairman of DISCON II.
1974 Alexis Gilliland decided that we COULD do a Disclave just a few days before the World Con. He invited Kelly Freas to be GOH and had 284 Fen in attendance. Alexis would run the next four Disclaves.
1975 To the surprise of many SMOF, DISCON II did not break up WSFA, neither did we skip having a Disclave the next year. Gordon Dickson was GOH and 360 fen came to see him. Alexis and Doll had a rather flexible deal with the Hotel: whatever space they weren't using that weekend, we got. Sometimes the program would wander about in the hotel from place to place, but impromptu programming such as the "Fannish Inquisition" usually could get space to carry out any sort of nonsense they had in mind. We ALWAYS had C-640. That's what really mattered. Alexis was always the perfect host. 360 came.
1976 "William Tenn" (Prof. Phil Klass of the University of PA) was GOH. Alexis performed a "clown" wedding uniting Artist Freff & Amy Sefton. 675 fen were registered.
1977 Old time WSFAn Joe Haldeman was GOH. 850 attended. A lot of them came to see my "TROLLOGY." Well, I heard them say that they came because of Joe...
1978 We had our first Fan GOH, Bob Tucker. Wilson Tucker was a Pro GOH. 1005 came. Alexis' "STARWARS ROOTS" was first performed that year. It was a roaring success, but due to WSFA's Ruritanian Revolution, it was the last Disclave for Alexis until 1981.
1979 Chair Alan Huff invited Roger Zelazny back as Writer GOH and had Michael Whelan as Artist GOH. There were 1485 registered that year. Ray Ridenour's "Zelazny Players" were featured in the Program. But there was a Damoclean sword hanging over the con, or to be more precise, a wrecker's ball. One could look out the windows and see girders for the new hotel inches away. When we left, C-640's door plate was unscrewed from the door and the next day the hotel's oversized corridors and wonderful rooms were demolished. Disclaves are still being held there in the Con- Warp.
1980 We had to go somewhere, but that turned out to be the ironically named Hospitality House in Crystal City, VA. Chair Tom Schaad got stuck with the hotel, but by ingenious planning made it work a lot better than it should have. His Guests of Honor were Spider and Jeanne Robinson. Jack Chalker and Somtow Sucharitkul were Featured Writers and Robin Wood was Featured Artist. The did my play "Gossip" for Friday night programming. I didn't get to see it because I was registering artists for the art show...Just as well, from what I heard. The Hotel was so rude and uncooperative that it almost undermined Tom's excellent management of the Con. For me the highlight of the con happened while I was auctioning. The room was a ground level exhibition aria with two vast doors in its back. While Jack Chalker had his back turned, sipping coffee, the doors opened and a SWAT team with loaded machine guns barged in. Someone had been seen on a balcony of the hotel with what looked like a gun. It was a very security minded area. We don't know how many attended with or without the G-Men.
1981 Alexis returned as Chair, and moved the con to the Sheraton National on Columbia Pike in Arlington. His GOH, Isaac Asimov, drew 1400!
1982 We returned to the Sheraton National with Jack Chalker and Eva Whitley as Co-Chairs, Elizabeth Lynn as GOH, Tom Miller as Art GOH, and Barbara Lantry-Miller as Featured Artist.
1983 It was again necessary to move and this time we went down the road to the Marriott Twin Bridges near National Airport. Chairman Alan Huff has George R.R. Martin for GOH and Jack Gaughan as Art GOH; Marnie Montgomery was Featured Artist. As you might expect, the hotel was less than ideal. The jets overhead was not quite as bad as the tortured construction of the function space and the flooding on the roads which made it difficult to walk to food (all distant). 1100 attended.
1984 And so we moved again. This time it was to a place then called the New Carrollton Sheraton. Chair Jane Wagner had scouted it out and got a good deal with them. It was, indeed located in New Carrollton, surrounded by safe, plentiful free parking, fast food at an easy walk, convenient to transportation and, we would learn once there, it was an also ugly, repulsive roach trap for those who like that sort of thing. Jane had Connie Willis for her GOH, Eric Blair (George Orwell) as Ghost of Honor and Paul Yurek as featured artist. 900 showed up. We would stay there until 1991, but if you went by the Hotel's name, you'd never know it.
1985 Michael J. Walsh, fresh from running Constellation, the Baltimore WorldCon which gave you more than you paid for, invited Ed Bryant to be GOH and Bob Walters as Art GOH. The Hotel was now called the "The Sheraton Inn."
1986 The Hotel was now called "The Sheraton Washington Northeast. Chair Jack Heneghan has William Gibson as GOH and Steve Stiles as Featured Artist. As usual, it rained on our "poolside" consuite, but, as there was an 8 or 10 foot fence between the cabana room and the pool, it probably didn't....
1987 They gave me the ball and I was Chair. Naturally, I had Gene Wolfe for GOH. Barclay Shaw was Art GOH, and WSFA founder Chick Derry was Fan GOH. Over objections, I moved the Consuite down into the vile, grimy exhibition center, because it would be out of the rain and there would actually be places to sit down. Evan G. Phillips got involved with furnishing and decorating the first "DISCAVE" (A term originating in my misspelled sign. 1350 fen were registered for it.
1988 By the time Disclave rolled around, the Hotel was the Howard Johnson New Carrollton. Most of our fliers hadn't called it that, but everyone knew where it was. Tom Schaad was Chair again. He invited Barbara Hambly to be GOH and English artist Jim Burns to be Art GOH. Evan's Discave was a marvel. He turned the grubby "bunker" into a fantasy world with C-Clamps and paper. We ate like gods. Since the demise of C-640, Disclave's hospitality had suffered, now it was back and with style! Again, about 1350 attended.
1989 Lucius Shepard was Chair Mike Walsh's choice for GOH. Naturally, J.K. Potter was Art GOH. Evan's Discave out-did his previous one. It was done out as an English Village and was scented with fresh funnel cake. His consuites inspired Noreascon III, Boskone and others to new flights of fancy. Mike Walsh produced a book of Shepard's Short Stories, "FATHER OF STONES" for his Disclave.
1990 Ah, but this year the Hotel not only had a new name, but claimed it was somewhere it wasn't. It was still in New Carrollton, but it was now called the Sheraton Greenbelt. Chair Eva Whitley had Mike Resnick as GOH and Dawn Wilson as Art GOH. Somtow Sucharitkul was Movie Mogul Guest of Honor, Marty Gear was Fan Guest of Honor, and Doug Beekman was Featured Artist. Jack Chalker and Eva Whitley produced a book Mike Resnick's short stories called "THROUGH DARKEST RESNICK WITH GUN AND CAMERA. Evan's oriental paradise Discave was again, the highpoint of the Con. 1300 attended.
1991 The Hotel was still the Sheraton Greenbelt, and for many, that had ceased to be much of a positive. Chair Peggy Rae Pavlat had Lewis Shiner and Alicia Austin as GOHs, Evan produced a space-fantasy Discave with the usual unusual, but the Hotel was being difficult and there was no plan to return. Still the 1200 who attended mostly had a good time. Another book was produced "THE EDGES OF THINGS" an anthology of short stories by Lewis Shiner.
1992 And so we moved. This time it was to the Washington ("Hinckley") Hilton on Connecticut Ave. Steve Fetheroff had been elected chair, but had to move to Washington State. So, Michael J. Walsh, who swore he would not be able to be there, was elected to replace Steve. In point of de facto, Covert Beach got stuck with running it. Pat Cadigan and Tom Kidd were Guests of Honor, Hal Clement's 70th Birthday Party was a featured event. Another anthology was produced. This time it was a collection of Pat Cadigan stories called "Home by the Sea." Lamentably, Evan was unavailable to produce another Discave. So I volunteered to do the Consuite, which I called the DisClub so as not to tarnish the Discave reputation.
1993 was Covert Beach's turn to actually run his own Disclave, but he had to do it at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott. It was actually rather a nice place, if somewhat way the hell out in the middle of nowhere near the Dulles(t) International Airport. Evan ran a decent consuite, but without the filthy old bunker, it just wasn't the same. Katherine Kurtz and Patricia Davis were GOHs.
1994 Co-chairs John Peacock and Paula Lewis took Disclave to the Sheraton Premier at Tyson's Corner, Va. Lois McMaster Bujold and Steven Vincent Johnson were GOHs, Darlene P. Coltrain was Special Guest. Somebody booked the place out from under us, so we moved on to the Renaissance Hotel Techworld for this year.
By the way, the New Carrollton Howard Sheraton Hotel has since become a Ramada. It's still there, wherever that is.
This page was created 17 February, 2000. This page was last updated 5 February, 2002.