Postcard circa 1955: Postmarked June 8, 1957
Ocala-South, Florida -- 2280 S Dixie Hwy (U.S. 441, 27, 27, 301)
Not only did Howard Johnson's advertise that it had locations "on all major routes," the Ocala Motor Lodge and Restaurant was sited so that it was on all major routes! Geared to catch the attention of the millions of travelers headed into Florida, Ocala was opened on January 5, 1957. As it was the second Howard Johnson's complex to have been opened in Florida, it was an immediate success.
Architectural plan circa 1955:
University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College's Hospitality Industry Archives

As Americans became more mobile throughout the 1940s, both the public and architectural tradesmen had begged for better lodging design. Tired of the inconsistent quality of mom & pop motels, a broad call was made for a chain operator to step forward and revolutionize the industry. Having had years of practice honing its delivery of standard consistent quality in its Restaurants, Howard Johnson's seemed a natural to offer a chain of motels. However lessons the Company learned about creating standard products and services were not used in their first non-standard licensed Motor Lodges, for they were a hodgepodge of new and converted motels that would not measure up to Howard Johnson's later offerings. It would take a future seeing architect who had worked for HJ before to save the dream of better lodging.

Heeding the call for better design, Miami based architect, Rufus Nims, carefully studied the situation and created his prototype motel located in Fort Myers, Florida. Lessons learned from its plan were used to create the visionary design that became the standardized Howard Johnson Motor Lodge.


Postcards circa 1950s & 1960s. Guest stationary circa 1950s