Postcard circa 1960s: Bernert
Clearwater, Florida -- 410 U.S. 19 S (20788 U.S. Hwy 19 N)

The Clearwater Motor Lodge was officially opened on October 22, 1964 by Howard B Johnson himself. The gala opening served as the stage for him to announce the Company's big expansion across the Sunshine State. The ambitious plans included the addition of 25 new Motor Lodges and Restaurants for Florida by 1966, and that most of the properties would be built along newly opened stretches of the Interstate Highway system.

As for the Clearwater Motor lodge, it was the 169th in the chain and the first to be owned and operated by the Howard Johnson Company rather than a franchisee. Moreover it was the first property to have an integrated Restaurant and Motor Lodge management structure.

Photographs August, 2001: Kummerlowe
The complex featured unusual designs for both its Gate Lodge and Restaurant buildings. The Gate Lodge was a small flat-roofed structure with an orange-roofed, spire-cupola-topped, faux-A-frame above it! meanwhile the 139 seat Restaurant was an entirely new design for the Company which it dubbed "the Clearwater Plan."

Note: For an example of the what the faux A-frame looked like see:
--for the Restaurant see Lake City-North.
Photographs April 4, 2003
Photograph August 2001: Kummerlowe
Above: The original flat-roofed Gate Lodge lobby without the faux A-frame above it was still in place. Note too that the concrete footers remained extant.
Business card from property: Kummerlowe
Photographs April 4, 2003: Kummerlowe
Postcard circa 1960s: Bernert

The Motor Lodge at some point become the unbranded and down-trodden Sunshine Inn. After a series of unfortunate events where police were called to the site, it was sold to Menna-Pinellas. During 2003 the former Restaurant was quickly demolished and replaced with a mid-rise Holiday Inn Express. Following that, the former Motor Lodge was gutted and then converted into a Motel 6. However the old Motor Lodge soon lost it's Motel 6 moniker and became the unbranded Economy Inn. Then during 2012 its owners opted to brand it again--this time as an outlet of America's Best Inn & Suites.

Below: The Holiday Inn came to occupy the site of the Howard Johnson's Restaurant and its once expansive parking lot. Converted into a Motel 6, the former Motor Lodge's original flat-roofed Gate Lodge was demolished and a circa 2000s Motel 6 lobby was erected. Note that the property had lost its brand affiliation by 2011 and was operating as the Economy Inn Clearwater only to be rebranded in 2012 as an America's Best Inn.
© Google Maps: image date June 2011

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