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Happily we would have no more snow along the way! Leaving Benton Harbor, Dan decided that we should make our way to Michigan City, IN. After a quick stop to see Lake Michigan and enjoy the spectacular vistas offered by Warren Dunes State Park near Sawyer, MI, we discovered that Michigan City's HJ had become a heavily remodeled Hampton Inn. Where its Restaurant once stood had become a grassy lot.
Information about Warren Dunes 1, 2, 3, 4

Former HoJo's: Michigan City, IN

Former HoJo's: South Bend, IN
Though not unexpected, finding no trace of South Bend was profoundly disappointing. A Howard Johnson's brochure described the Motor Lodge's setting as a "sylvan retreat." You see, the Motor Lodge/Restaurant complex incorporated the 9 acre Blake Gardens. The vintage brochure extolled that the greatest care had been exercised in placing the Motor Lodge so that it would blend in perfectly with the lake and gardens. All bull-dozed, the site became a parking lot and grandiose Comfort Suits.

Foreign to many Americans, toll roads are a fixture in the Northeast and Midwest. Before the days of the Interstate Highway System, toll roads were seen as a primary means of financing highways. Starting with the Pennsylvania Turnpike, just prior to WWII, Howard Johnson's aligned itself with the futuristic limited access high-speed super-highways. Motorists could travel in comfort and with speed!

Of the toll highways linked from the East coast to Illinois, only the Indiana Toll Road would never boast of having Howard Johnson's. Nonetheless the 1950s era Travel Plazas are worth a look. While some have been modified considerable, others like the one seen here have nearly original exteriors.

Not long after the Ohio Turnpike opened, Howard D. Johnson received the keys to six service plazas in a ceremony in 1956 to mark HoJo's preeminence along our Nations Toll Highways. On a massive rebuilding spree only a couple of the original service plazas remained by 2004, and they will soon have been replaced with the "futuristic" one seen here.

Travel Plaza: Indiana Toll Road

Indiana Toll Road Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

Travel Plaza: Ohio Turnpike

Official Site: 

Ohio Turnpike Links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 

Former HoJo's: Toledo-Maumee, OH

Former HoJo's: Toledo-W Central, OH

Glad that we had been able to visit both the old and new Service Plazas, it was decided to head into Toledo to check out HoJo's ruins there before heading down to Bowling Green for the night. Toledo was full of good surprises, for all three of the original stand-alone Restaurant buildings remain to be seen. Only the Restaurant that was with the Toledo-Maumee Motor Lodge has been lost, and it only recently was replaced with a Waffle House. Ghost listings on the Internet still indicate that it is a Chinese place. Speaking of the Motor Lodge, while it is still located in a vibrant area, it has become a place for longer term lodgers. Since it was an early Motor Lodge, it was not built to familiar HoJo's standards--it's a lot like the one that was in Port Huron, MI--worth the stop to document but not to spend the night!

The former Restaurant on West Central now specializes in breakfast, so by the time we arrived it was closed for the day. Next stop was nearly back into Michigan at the Telegraph Road location. Amazed, Dan and I were able to view one of only three "colonial" remains that we would be able to see on the trip. Having been converted into a Ground Round, it survived the recent demise of the corporation because it is a franchised location. On the other side of Toledo, we found Tom's Family Restaurant. From the outside the Orange Roof bleeds through in places, but the rest of the exterior has been significantly altered. Dan said that the layout was like the one in Key West--a little different from the norm as to how the restrooms were situated. The best part was that nearly all of the original Terrazzo floor remains--except that the Simple Simon and the Pieman inset had been cut out. Since were eating in the Restaurant, I walked around to see what original remained, and as I looked at the spot in the floor where the Simple Simon logo once had been, 'Tom' seemed annoyed that I was even interested so I went back and sat down!


Former HoJo's: Toledo-Telegraph, OH

Former HoJo's: Toledo-Woodville, OH
Having had a full day of travel and HoJo's remains sightings, we contentedly made our way down to Bowling Green. The exit along I-75 where the Howard Johnson's was located is a busy one. In addition to travelers and regular visitors, businesses also receive a steady stream of patrons from Bowling Green State University which is just across the street.  A Dutch Pantry was located adjacent to the HoJo's. Having fallen on hard times, only one Dutch Pantry may still be in business.


Former Dutch Pantry: Bowling Green, OH
The best part of the Bowling Green Motor Lodge was the original shower door and still functioning double shower headed shower! Another treat was the through-the-door Do Not Disturb/Maid Make Up Room device--its the only one Dan and I have seen in a number of years. Unfortunately the Gate Lodge is gone and the Restaurant lies vacant. The night we were there the large parking area was filled up with car carriers--apparently the former HoJo's turned Quality Inn is a popular layover for car carrying truckers.


Former HoJo's: Bowling Green, OH

Former HoJo's: Bowling Green, OH

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