For millions of travelers in American back in the ’60s and ’70s, there was perhaps no more reassuring sight than the cupola-topped orange roof that signified a road-side staple, the Howard Johnson’s. Once the largest restaurant chain in America, with more than 1,000 locations coast to coast, HoJo’s also offered weary sojourners overnight accommodations at many of their locations.
Competition, the ascension (pun intended) of air travel, and mega-highways replacing quaint ribbons of two-lane have over the years taken their toll on HoJo’s, and today there are only three restaurants still in business, while the company’s motels have long since put up the no vacancy sign. A few of the buildings still remain, the former West Covina California restaurant featuring in an episode of Mad Men a couple of years ago. Sadly, that seems to be the fate of Howard Johnson’s- something we look back upon, rather than look forward to.
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Image: Matthew’s Island of Misfit Toys