America's Landmark: Under the Orange Roof

 


The Orange Submarine

 

portsmouth1

Portsmouth,
N.H. circa 1940s

 

 

 

portsmouth103

Portsmouth,
N.H. circa 1965

 

 

1976 4

Portsmouth,
N.H. spring 1976

 

 


Innovative Plan

 

clearwater1.

Photo
ca. 1980s: Tim Fillmon
Be sure to visit Tim's site: http://signsofthetimesflorida.blogspot.com/
Clearwater,
Florida

 —
410 U.S. 19 S (20788 U.S. Hwy 19 N)

 

During
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.

Alas
the benefits of integration were never properly understood
or implemented by Howard Johnson management.

 

 

Left:
Unique in many ways, the Clearwater complex featured
an unusual experimental Gate Lodge along with its Restaurant
which was dubbed "the Clearwater Plan."

Below:
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.

 

 

clearwater4

Photograph
2001 : Kummerlowe

 

 

 


Ultimate Unrealized

 

ultimatenims1

Architectural
FORUM, March 1955 p. 162-167: Kummerlowe

 

Ultimate
Designer

Almost
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.

Working
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."

Rufus
H. Nims (1913-2005)
http://web.uflib.ufl.edu/spec/manuscript/guides/nims.htm

 

 

ultimatenims2
Ultimate
Design
,
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.

 

Ultimate
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.

Architectural
FORUM March 1955

 

 

 


Bob's Orange Treats

 

1991ocala2

Ocala-North,
FL
–photo
April 1991: Bob Venditti

 

Bob:
"The place was still very nice; had an upper floor balcony
room along interstate. That's my gold Honda Civic parked on
the right."

 

1991smithfiled6

Smithfield,
NC
–photo
May 1991: BobVenditti

 

Bob:
"I always liked how this place was situated off
the interstate, and the wide park-like lawn really seemed
appealing.

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."

 

1992hollywood2

Hollywood,
FL
–photo
June 1992: Bob Venditti

 

Bob:
"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…"

 

Lexington,
VA
–photo
August 1991: Bob Venditti

 

Bob:
"Very nice place to stay while taking the long way
to Ohio! I had great pancakes at the dairy bar."

 

 

 

Orange
Flashbacks!

 

wilmingtonconcord5

Left:
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.

Remember
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
gone now).

 

 

wilmingtonconcord3

Wilmington-Concord,
DE
–photo
August 9, 1999: Kummerlowe

 

 

pittsburgh

Pittsburgh
(Blvd. of the Allies) PA
–photo
August 7, 1999: Kummerlowe

 

 

Howard Johnson's Restaurant & Motor lodge: Harrisonburg, Virginia
Harrisonburg
, VA
–photo
8/13/98 (visited again 8/99): Kummerlowe

 

 

Howard Johnson's Restaurant: Wilmington-Kirkwood Hwy. Delaware

Wilmington-Kirkwood,
DE
–photo
August 9, 1999: Kummerlowe

 

 

claymontde
Claymont.
DE
–photo
1998 (visited again in 8/1999): Kummerlowe

 

 

afton1
Afton
, VA
–photo
August 13, 1998: Kummerlowe

 

 

millington1
Millington
, MD
–photo
August 9, 1999: Kummerlowe

 

 

frontroyal2
Front
Royal , VA
–photo
8/1998 (visited again in 8/99): Kummerlowe

 

 


Lexington,
VA
–photo
August 13, 1999: Kummerlowe Archive

 

 

stlouis1
St
Louis-Kirkwood, MO
–photos
August 2000: Kummerlowe

 

 

 

At
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.

This
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
memories.

 

 

"Howard
Johnson's — An American way of life — convenience, comfort
and hospitality for the entire family, at home and away from
home."
 

 

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purpose of this site is informational. It is neither commercial
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