Portage complex was one of several that served the Chicago area
and the once bustling complex of heavy industries located in the
region near Lake Erie. Located along U.S. 20 at a one-time terminus
of I-94 the classic highway-style Motor Lodge and Restaurant complex
opened in 1971, and joined a classic 1960s type Holiday Inn which
had been built across U. S. 20 in 1969.
Motor Lodge remained a Howard Johnson into the 1990s and was subsequently
converted into a Days
Meanwhile its neighbor across the street became a Ramada Inn.
Then by the late 2000s the former Holiday Inn turned Ramada was
closed and idly deteriorated. Portage's Howard Johnson's Restaurant
may have been a Nims derivative or possibly the newer "T"
type with an A-frame derived from the "Concept '65"
plan. Whatever the design, the building was demolished and a circa
1980s Shoney's came to occupy its site. Upon Shoney's unsuccessful
attempt in the regional market far from its Southern base, its
building was recycled into a Denny's!