Postcard circa late 1950s: Kummerlowe
New Castle, DE 
2162 New Castle Ave.


Opened in 1958, the New Castle complex was billed as the 28th Flavor in Motor Lodges since it was officially the 28th Motor Lodge!

An established Howard Johnson's Restaurant operator, Harry B. Bissell, Jr. owned the New Castle Motor Lodge and Restaurant.

Stationary header circa 1950s: Kummerlowe
The Howard Johnson Scoop: December 1957 page 13
ABOVE: Mr. C. K. Dwinell, second from left, watching as Mr. Harry B. Bissell, Jr., turns the first shovel of earth for the new unit.
The Howard Johnson Scoop: December 1957 page 13
ABOVE Left to Right: Mr. Harry B. Bissell, Jr., Franchise Operator of the new Motor Lodge: Mr. C. K. Dwinell, General Manager Howard Johnson's Motor Lodges, Inc.: Mr. William S. Price, Division Engineer, U.S. Bureau of Public Roads: Honorable Harry G. Haskell, Jr., Represtentative-at-large, State of Delaware.
Postcard circa 1950s: Kummerlowe

The majestic Delaware Memorial Bridge was opened to traffic on August 15, 1951, but with vehicle counts greatly exceeding projections, a twin span was built and then dedicated in 1968. The bridge offered travelers a much more convenient crossing of the Delaware River then had been in place by ferry and facilitated economic growth on both sides of the river.

The New Castle Motor Lodge and Restaurant complex was situated immediately along the approach to the bridge and motorists headed north to the New Jersey Turnpike would not have missed the welcoming Orange Roofed palace of modern hospitality. Travelers headed south, were treated to billboards and additional signage alerting them to HoJo's upcoming and not to be missed exit.

Directory of Services circa 1960s: Kummerlowe
Photograph June 1964: Kummerlowe
Postcard circa 1963: Kummerlowe
Photographs June 1964: Kummerlowe
Photographs circa early 2000s: Bob Venditti
Photograph 2003: Phil Edwards

New Castle's Restaurant was converted into a Big Boy during the latter 1980s following Marriott's purchase of Howard Johnson's, and then in the late 1990s the Motor Lodge was re-purposed as an outlet of Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson. Initially the Gate Lodge and Restaurant buildings were integrated into the dealership, but the guest building were unused and eventually all demolished. Mike's Famous business model lagged, and the New Castle outlet was acquired by Dave Rommel. He reflagged the dealership under his own banner, Rommel Harley-Davidson. After several years, Rommel left the former HoJo's complex, and by the fall of 2018 the prime highway facing site became ripe for redevelopment.

ABOVE, HIGHER, & LOWER: The Restaurant was a rare "open-ended" design and had been shrouded in Harley graphics during the time that the site was Mike's Famous.

BELOW: Note the recycled "rounded edge" Motor Lodge sign and Bob's Big Boy sign cans dating from about 1987.

Photo circa early 2000s: Bob Venditti
Photograph 2003: Phil Edwards
Photograph June 1964: Kummerlowe

One of the first A-frame Gate Lodges, New Castle's was a "squat" design.

A new feature of the Motor Lodges is the Gate Lodge pictured here. This building has a modern pitched roof covered with the famous orange tile that has made Howard Johnson restaurants Landmarks to the American public for thirty years. the Gate Lodge houses the registration desk, office, and lobby of the Motor Lodge.

Photographs 2003: Phil Edwards
Photograph circa early 2000s: Bob Venditti
Photographs 2003: Phil Edwards
The Gate Lodge was "beaconized" during the 1970s.
As recently as 2018, the site retained two original Howard Johnson's structures, but Google street views from October 2019 show that a Royal Farms convenience store was opened on the site and that both the classic A-frame "squat" Gate Lodge and the other original building which had served as restrooms had been razed.
© Google 3D view circa 2018 (screen capture July 2020)

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