Howard Johnson's 1941
Another classic from the film vault. The Howard Johnson's in Canton was located at the foot of the Blue Hills along Royal Street. There is a Dunkin Donuts in what was the original building which was still used as a Ho Jo's until the mid 90's. Here is a true piece of Americana - the roadside history that was the hallmark of the mid 20th century. In fact, the Howard Johnson's in Canton was the prototype restaurant for the chain. Originally opening n the 1930's, by 1941 this location was the test design for what would become known as the "Canton-type".
It would appear that Canton's Howard Johnson's was the test model for the expansion in the 40's and the style and interior and customer service efficiencies were all modeled at the Canton location. By October of 1949 new Canton-type Restaurants featured updated dining room furnishings including a new and innovative type of table that could be enlarged by a sliding panel. The table had a divider between the table opposite, and many family style restaurants continue this innovative practice still today.
By the early 1990's after the Howard Johnson Company itself had been split apart, the Canton restaurant came to be operated by Franchise Associates Incorporated. The restaurant chain was in decline and Franchise Associates used the Canton location to make one notable attempt to create a Howard Johnson's of the future: again a new prototype restaurant in Canton, Massachusetts. Among the new design features was a modern arch over the entrance with a logo prominently displayed. Also, half of the legendary orange roof was changed to gray and the cupola was removed. It closed in 2000.
The film clip shows several happy patrons - one in fact licking his fingers as he leaves with a smile on his face. Also, watch for the starched uniforms of the employees as they come out for a publicity walk. All great fun and ushering in the early years of roadside dinning along Route 138 in Canton. Share your memories of Howard Johnson's in the comment section below.