Photographs circa 1930s: Courtesy of Nate Coggeshall-Beyea
Middleboro, Massachusetts -- Rt. 28 @ Rotary

Middleboro, also called Rotary Mills, was an early Howard Johnson's location, and was operating by 1937. However the building was constructed and had been in business as one of HoJo's competitors--Dutchland Farms. The prominent windmill feature was Dutchland's trademark! By the 1940s Howard Johnson's had overwhelmed its Dutchland Farms rival and is believed to have acquired the rest of the chain.

The original circa 1930s building was eventually replaced and converted into a short lived concept called the HJ restauranette (see lower). By the 2000s a Friendly's was operating in the former HoJo's spot. Also note that a Red Coach Grill was also located in the rotary's vicinity and was eventually converted into an eatery called the Fireside Grill.


Howard Johnson's Landmark: date, page

The HJ restauranette was a new concept coffee shop that opened in December of 1974 at the revamped Middleboro location. It offered a "limited" menu, and was designed for highway locations. The decor was described as "all vinyl." Diners ate on china with flatware and were served by Johnson Girls, but there were no placemats!

The architectural department noted that it had a "today" mood with its informal atmosphere, and U-shaped counter and booth arrangement.

" Our Tivoli interior is used here -- booths, tables and Tiffany lamps in orange and raspberry sherbet are set against white walls accented by carved, hand-painted Scandinavian plaques."

The Howard Johnson Company had planned to expand the concept with six additional units in the California market, but the idea apparently never generated enough volume and was cancelled. Note the replacement Grand Rapids Restaurant featured a similar interior layout.


Photograph February 2007: Courtesy of Gary Keith