Portage Indiana Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant
Photos 2004: Phil Edwards
Portage, Indiana -- 6161 Melton Rd (U.S. 20)


The 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.

The Motor Lodge remained a Howard Johnson into the 1990s and was subsequently converted into a Days Inn. 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!

Photos July 2005: Bob Venditti
Above, Below & Lower: Portage's guest rooms retained a modicum of HoJo's feel into the middle 2000s. Note the lack of beams in the ceiling and the continued use of the pamper panel as well as the counter in the bathroom.