Hamden Plaza Howard Johnson's
Postcard circa 1960s: Courtesy of Dan Donahue
Hamden, Connecticut -- Dixwell Ave @ Hamden Plaza

High School Hang Out

Just next to Hamden High School was Hamden Plaza and the area's first Howard Johnson's Restaurant. Both the shopping center and the HoJo's opened in 1955 along a section of Dixwell, Avenue that came to be nicknamed "Magic Mile" for all of its retail establishments oriented for the convenience of motorists. The Plaza with its HoJo's out front was a typical mid 20th century setup--each complimented the other!

The Hamden Plaza Howard Johnson's lasted until about the middle 1970s. Walter Mann (www.hojoland.com) recalled that after the Restaurant closed it was converted into a seafood eatery called Jimmy's of Savin Rock which was popular and traced its roots to the Savin Rock Amusement Park in West Haven. The former HoJo's turned seafood restaurant closed in the early 1990s, and was then demolished to make way for a Chili's. Meanwhile the shopping plaza that the Restaurant had so ably served for nearly two decades went on to gain notoriety for being the site of The Ghost Parking Lot Project. By the early 2000s, the cars set in asphalt had been removed to provide additional parking for the revived center's expansion.


Howard Johnson's restaurant Manchester Connecticut
Photograph 2000s: Courtesy of Jack Sheppard
Manchester, Connecticut -- 394 Tolland Turnpike@ I-84

Opened in the early 1950s, the Manchester Restaurant was angled so that motorists exiting the Wilbur Cross Highway (later I-84) were deposited nearly at its front door! After the highway was upgraded, the HoJo's exit was realigned, but travellers could at least still see the site on there way to exit the Interstate.

A profitable location, the unit remained a Howard Johnson's until 1986. Upon the Company's sale to Marriott it was converted into their Roy Rogers concept, and continued to carry the Roy Rogers name through the middle 2000s.

Above: Mr. Sheppard's view of Manchester from I-84.

Below: Extensive renovations left only the Lamplighter Room mostly in place, and interestingly a couple of Landmark Supply booths and tables continued to be used.

Photographs May 2002

HoJo's Whistle Stop new Britain connecticut
Ad November 19, 1965: New Britain Herald
New Britain, Conn.
 -- Stanley and South Main Street

A fast food concept, New Britain's HoJo's Whistle Stop served as a one-off prototype for Howard Johnson's failed HoJo Junctions. The Company was at the top of its game in the middle 1960s, and diversified itself attempting to find success beyond traditional Restaurants and Motor Lodges. The era in general was marked by a rapid and exuberant rise of fast food eateries like McDonalds and scores of others. Having experimented with drive-in curb service, Howard Johnson executives calculated that they too could find success and entered what they perceived to be an easy and lucrative market.

Available corporate records do not mention the Whistle Stop and its fate.


New Haven, Connecticut
 -- 288 York Street
A store-front serving Yale students and people downtown, the New Haven Howard Johnson's dated from 1950.
Howard Johnson's Restaurant new Haven Connecticut
Photos courtesy of Phil Edwards

Howard Johnson's Restaurant Wethersfield Connecticut
Photograph August 27, 2004
Wethersfield, Connecticut -- 1731 Berlin Turnpike
A "Canton-type," the Wethersfield Restaurant on the Berlin Turnpike was located across the road from the nearby Red Coach Grill. The HoJo's lasted from the middle to late 1940s until about 1971.

Howard Johnson's restaurant Wethersfield Connecticut
Vintage Photograph circa 1940s
Wethersfield, Connecticut -- Silas Dean Highway
Among the earliest Howard Johnson's in Connecticut, the franchised Wethersfield Restaurant on Silas Dean Highway was in operation by 1938. Ten years later records indicated that Paul McCarthy and Al Doherty were its proprietors. A "Hillside-type," the Restaurant closed around 1963.