Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant South Bend Indiana
Howard Johnson's Landmark June 7, 1959: Kummerlowe Archive
South Bend, Indiana -- 52939 US 31 North

Opened in 1959 with considerable fanfare, the South Bend Motor Lodge grew from 72 to 111 guest rooms before its 1994 HoJo's demise. This once epitome of hospitality modernity likely lingered on at least until the early 2000s as an unbranded motel.

Above: "Ground Breaking Aug. 1958 Left to Right: William Harksworth, photographer, WSBT-TV; Herman J Schumacher, Clarence P. Schumacher, General Contractors; Lou Slavin; Charles Boynton, Attorney; Wm. J Boykin of B. L. Boykin & Sons, owners."
Below: December 1958 to May 15, 1959--under construction to opening

June 7, 1959
Howard Johnson's Scoop:

     "The Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant on U.S. 31, just north of the Northern Indiana Toll Road, So. Bend, Indiana is now in operation. The beautiful and well-known Blake gardens, enhanced by a sparkling lake and artificial waterways, provides a natural and restful panoramic sight for the guests of both the restaurant and motor lodge.

     Mr. William J. Boykin, operator, announced that the entire unit includes the 96-seat restaurant, a 72 room motor lodge and a swimming pool for the guests of the motor lodge. The heated pool will extend the swimming season for about two months more than normal for the South Bend area.

     The lodge is air-conditioned throughout with temperature controls in each room. Every room is equipped with a telephone, radio and television set."

Brochure & Postcard ca. 1960s: Kummerlowe Archive

Above: The Blake Gardens adjacent to the HoJo's provided a restive setting in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the modern 1950s-'60s world! 

Below: The innovative heated swimming pool was said to extend the swimming season for about two months longer than would have normally been possible.

Lower: The Restaurant's overflow dining room was an attractive modern space for civic group meetings as well as for regular HoJo's patrons. In most but not all Howard Johnson's, that particular area was called the Lamplighter Room.


Photo 2004: Kummerlowe Archive

Above: The sprawling complex with its "sylvan setting" once visible to motorists traveling along the Indiana Toll Road, is no more. Not even the "well-known" Blake Gardens survived developer's greed.

By 2004 all evidence of the once ultra-modern property had been reduced to leveled bare earth. Moreover, the street frontage where the Orange Roofs of the Restaurant and signature A-frame Gate Lodge had once beckoned Hungry and Sleepy Americans was available as sub-divided out-parcels. And worse, a grandiose Comfort Inn and Suites with a quasi Indo-Moorish facade had been built further back on the site where the gardens had been.