The Orange Submarine
N.H. circa 1940s
N.H. circa 1965
N.H. spring 1976
ca. 1980s: Tim Fillmon
Be sure to visit Tim's site: http://signsofthetimesflorida.blogspot.com/
410 U.S. 19 S (20788 U.S. Hwy 19 N)
the 1960s when the Clearwater Howard Johnson's was opened,
the Howard Johnson Company sought ways to maximize its
primacy of quality hospitality by utilizing the advantages
gained by the economies of scale. The Clearwater HoJo's
was the first property where the Company enjoyed ownership
and management of both the Motor Lodge and Restaurant.
the benefits of integration were never properly understood
or implemented by Howard Johnson management.
Unique in many ways, the Clearwater complex featured
an unusual experimental Gate Lodge along with its Restaurant
which was dubbed "the Clearwater Plan."
After losing its HJ status, the eye-catching Orange
Roof facade of the Gate Lodge was demolished leaving
a small flat-roofed lobby for the Sunshine Inn.
2001 : Kummerlowe
FORUM, March 1955 p. 162-167: Kummerlowe
by chance the 20th century modernist architect Rufus Nims
became involved creating designs for the Howard Johnson Company.
His most famous building became known in Company lore as the
series '77,' and to HoJo's fans is what this site calls the
Nims-Type. That familiar Restaurant building itself served
to redefine and refocus Howard Johnson's image in the 1950s
as ultimately modern.
diligently making architectural plans for the Company from
sometime in 1948 until about 1958, Nims devised what he termed
the Ultimate Design for a Howard Johnson's Restaurant
in 1955. The innovative plan was perhaps too radical a departure
from the series '77' and was never built. In a letter to author
Philip Langdon (Orange Roofs, Golden Arches) in 1984
Nims wrote with apparent frustration that "we were not
allowed to make any improvements to speak of as we went along
— so quit doing the Co.'s work altogether in 1958."
H. Nims (1913-2005)
proposed by Nims but not yet accepted by Johnson, makes
more radical changes in traditional appearance: gable
is turned end-wise to the street, cupola is removed from
the roof and raised like a shield on a spear.
Plan proposed by Nims combines all kitchen improvements
he developed for various types of Howard Howard Johnson
restaurants…Core of kitchen is straight traffic aisle,
replacing zigzag isle in the original plan. Straight open
core not only reduces steps but gives manager easier supervision
of entire kitchen operation.
FORUM March 1955
Bob's Orange Treats
April 1991: Bob Venditti
"The place was still very nice; had an upper floor balcony
room along interstate. That's my gold Honda Civic parked on
May 1991: BobVenditti
"I always liked how this place was situated off
the interstate, and the wide park-like lawn really seemed
I had a single room in the one-story section which was very
comfortable and in good condition, although it seemed a
little dated. In the area near the sliders, the floor was
dark brown linoleum on which sat a recliner chair. If only
they hadn't later boxed in the terrific patios and balconies.
Otherwise this place would still be a gem, even with the
added stucco embellishments."
June 1992: Bob Venditti
"I needed a place to shower and change for one night–I
only had my camera with me to document the motel stay, as
I have always done, no other reason…"
August 1991: Bob Venditti
"Very nice place to stay while taking the long way
to Ohio! I had great pancakes at the dairy bar."
Me and my grandmother in 1999 at Wilmington-Concord
Pike. Note my FAI era Howard Johnson's polo purchased
at the Pittsburgh- Blvd. of the Allies Restaurant.
that not too long ago we could still get authentic
fried clams–and better yet, real Howard
Johnson's ice cream! Ah, the 1990s, those were
the days?…and we didn't even know it!? My August
1999 journey was my last great HJ road trip, for I
visited EIGHT operating Howard Johnson's
Restaurants in the span of a week (alas they are all
August 9, 1999: Kummerlowe
(Blvd. of the Allies) PA–photo
August 7, 1999: Kummerlowe
8/13/98 (visited again 8/99): Kummerlowe
August 9, 1999: Kummerlowe
1998 (visited again in 8/1999): Kummerlowe
August 13, 1998: Kummerlowe
August 9, 1999: Kummerlowe
Royal , VA–photo
8/1998 (visited again in 8/99): Kummerlowe
August 13, 1999: Kummerlowe Archive
August 2000: Kummerlowe
the onset of my endeavor/adventure to document Howard Johnson's
in 1998, I never could have imagined that I was witness to
the end of an era. It is difficult to believe that an institution
so ingrained in our culture could vanish almost without a
trace. For it would seem that with each passing day another
HoJo's is closed and demolished. Not that long ago Howard
Johnson's was the largest hospitality chain in the world.
But now this once ubiquitous roadside landmark fades from
America's rear-view mirror, and as we speed off into the uncharted
future fewer and fewer orange roofed Restaurants and Motor
Lodges remain to serve the hungry and sleepy motoring public.
site commemorates the Roadside Empire created by Howard D.
Johnson, and chronicles with photographs and commentary the
story of a once vast organization and its legacy to the American
roadscape, and to the hospitality industry. Please browse
and enjoy the photographs, and I hope that they rekindle many
Johnson's — An American way of life — convenience, comfort
and hospitality for the entire family, at home and away from
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