compact layout, the Southington Motor Lodge was scheduled to open
in September of 1965 with 72 classically configured guest rooms
in two, two-story buildings both featuring central corridors.
Unique in the Nutmeg State and one of fewer than a dozen Howard
Johnson's, Southington presented itself to the public with a drive-under
"canopy" Gate Lodge.
in late 1957, the Howard Johnson Company had endeavored to create
a standard image for its Motor Lodges by utilizing an a-frame
design for guest lobbies. Known as a Gate Lodge, these lobbies
at most Motor Lodges were free-standing structures that came to
represent Howard Johnson's modern and superior hospitality offerings.
The Gate Lodges themselves were true a-frame structures perhaps
initially designed by Bank Building & Equipment Corporation
of America in conjunction with HoJo's in-house architectural department
led by Joseph Cicco and later by Lowery Bell. Exuding the modernity
of the Space-Age, the Gate Lodges were clad in gleaming orange
porcelain enamel roof tiles and topped with a spire cupola and
Lamplighter weather vane--a juxtaposition of old and new symbolism
the Gate Lodges were a standard size, they presented limitations
for operators that desired larger public spaces. Thus an alternative
was use of an in-the-building lobby and drive under canopy Gate
Lodge such as what was employed at Southington.