1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7



 Former HJ: Detroit-Jackson Ave, MI
With the uncooperative weather, Detroit proved to be somewhat of a bust for HoJo's sightings. Plans had called for an ambitious and circuitous route to check out most of the Detroit area Howard Johnson's sites, but instead we limited the exploration. From Downtown it was an easy hop over to Jackson Ave. which had been converted into a Big Boy. Only the rear and side of the building retained any of its HoJo-ness.
Next on our abbreviated agenda was Oak Park. Having long ago lost the Howard Johnson's name, it remains remarkably intact. Packed with patrons, it was impossible to get any interior shots. Its Dairy Bar intact, it was surprising to discover that the Restaurant apparently never featured a cathedral ceiling. Original HoJo's tables were still being used, but utilized a more elaborate base. Now called Sami's, Sami himself collected our money, and indicated that he had owned the Restaurant for more than seventeen years.

 Former HoJo's: Detroit-Oak Park, MI

 Amoco Station: Dearborn, MI
After leaving Sami's, we headed to see Southfield, but the Motor Lodge was demolished some time ago and the Restaurant had been converted into a "coney island" type restaurant specializing in hot dogs! Unfortunately we ended up without any photographs of Southfield's current state. Along the way to Ann Arbor we spotted a still operating Amoco station on Michigan Avenue which must date from the 1930s or very early 1940s.
Additional Information 1, 2

 Former HoJo's: Ann Arbor, MI

 Site of HoJo's: Mt. Clemens, MI

Ann Arbor's former HoJo's where Dan and I spent the night was a mess. The grounds had been torn up, and heavy equipment was blocking part of the drive-way and parking lot. Due to operator error, I have no exterior photographs of the site from the visit. Apparently the location will be demolished or VERY heavily remodeled into a Baymont Inn. The area where the pool once was is now a Baymont Inn building. Interestingly a few of the booths were saved from the restaurant and served as seating for motel guests near the Gate Lodge where continental breakfast is set up. The Restaurant was converted into several unsuccessful independent concepts starting in 1988 when it became an Asian-Italian eatery called the Eastern Crabhouse. After that it became Bob Silverman's, but in 1998 became Deb's Eatery. Finally is one last gasp, it became Alpha Koney Island. Having run its course, the end finally came for the Restaurant that had been the last company owned location in Michigan and had served as the Headquarters for Howard Johnson's Corporate owned restaurants in the state.

From Ann Arbor we sought the former stand-alone Restaurant at Stadium Blvd & Washtenaw only to discover that the neo-colonial type HoJo's had been replaced with a small strip-office building. Leaving Ann Arbor, we decided to incorporate Mt. Clemens, Port Huron, and the Flint sites on the way to Bay City. Having advance notice that Mt. Clemens had become a Sign of the Beefcarver did not help us spot it as I drove past! The current building is neither the right shape nor sited correctly on the prime corner lot to have been the actual HoJo's, but perhaps some part of it hidden behind the facade is original. The Sign of the Beefcarver has been there since 1974, but will soon likely be demolished to make way for a CVS, which received approval in April of 2004 for its projected new location. Even though Port Huron was out of the way, it would be Dan's only opportunity to see Lake Huron and the former non-standard HoJo's that had been converted into a Day's Inn. The former HoJo's does not elicit much excitement from Howard Johnson fans since it was pre-standardization, but part of the original building remains and its office is still in its original location. Alas the Restaurant was replaced several years ago by a Rite Aid. Interestingly, adjacent to the HJ remains is a strip center once anchored by a colonial style A & P, which has found new life as a billiards hall. Unfortunately since I had not properly loaded film into my camera, I have no current shots form Port Huron.


 Former HoJo's: Flint-Dort Hwy, MI

 Former HoJo's: Flint-East, MI

See Cactus Bob's Flint-East pics here
Upon leaving Port Huron, the weather took a turn for the worse, and by the time we arrived in Flint it had begun to rain. Flint-East had a remarkable amount of its HoJo-ness intact, but was in disrepair--in fact, the once touted indoor pool area had been cordoned off. As a Best Inn, the staff were very friendly and allowed Dan and I to have a quick look around including a peek into couple of ground floor rooms. However, the former HoJo's is at a point where it will either need extensive renovation or will face the specter of demolition. The Nims-type stand alone Restaurant on Dort Hwy. which was not far from Flint-East appears to have had its exterior reasonably well preserved considering that it was serving as a used car lot. Again and unfortunately my carefully framed shots were all for naught since film was not winding its way through my camera! A quick look where Flint-Southwest had been revealed no evidence of the once sprawling Howard Johnson's.

 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7