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Howard Johnson's Restaurant Canton Massachusetts
Postcard ca. 1950s: Kummerlowe Archive

Canton, Massachusetts

 -- 2786 Washington St

Like dozens of other Howard Johnson's location in the Bay State, the original Canton Restaurant dating from the 1930s was replaced by a new model in the late 1940s. Pictured here, the new building served as a prototype for the growing chain. Researcher Nate Coggeshall-Beyea has identified several locations that were based on the circa 1940s Canton Restaurant. Moreover the Howard Johnson Company itself listed locations in its in-house publications as being "Canton-types."

A successful unit, design elements and efficiencies of operation developed at Canton were widely adopted by Howard Johnson's for both its licensed and Company operated units.

Images ca. 1949: Life Magazine Ad:
Kummerlowe Archive

Left: While Canton featured its Dairy Bar on the left, other Canton-types were built with a reverse layout and later models were tweaked to have only two dormers.

It is not known if the attic space was functional in the Canton-type buildings.

Right: By October of 1949 new Canton-type Restaurants featured updated dining room furnishings including a new and innovative type of table that could be enlarged by a sliding panel.

Howard Johnson's Restaurant Update, Franchised Restaurant Newsletter No. 10:
Larry Passaro

Fast Forward to January 1990:
At the end of the Howard Johnson Company's existence in 1985, Canton had been a licensed location. Some time after the creation of Franchise Associates Incorporated (FAI), the unit became the first to be owned and operated by FAI.
Not having received a substantial update since the 1960s FAI decided to remake Canton yet again into a prototype Howard Johnson's Restaurant (it is unlikely that FAI managers knew that it had held the prototype distinction long before). The Canton Restaurant project would serve as FAI's only real attempt to regain HoJo's former luster.

Addison, a San Francisco based design firm was charged with creating a new look for Canton and the chain. Most significantly, the firm was responsible for putting the apostrophe 'S' back into the Howard Johnson name as well as creating the capital entry arch.
Above: Stripped of its neo-classical and art deco appeal, Canton was gutted and remade to resemble a circa 1980s Mansard style HoJo's.
FAI images 1991: Walter Mann

Canton's refreshed interior featured second level seating, brass and wood accents as well as special etched glass Simple Simon and the Pieman panels.

The whole design was referred to as "high-tech," and included an expansive Dairy Bar with a walk up area highlighted by neon.

Photos May 2, 1999: Bob Koenig
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