Postcard circa 1970: Kummerlowe
Grand Rapids-East -- 5500 28th St Se

With its Nims-style Restaurant and eye-catching A-frame Gate Lodge, the second Grand Rapids Motor Lodge complex was constructed in 1968, and featured 100 guest rooms and an indoor heated pool.

Photograph 2004: Dan Donahue
Photographs July 2005: Phil Edwards

Following the sale of the Howard Johnson Company many properties such as Grand Rapids were sold. An up-an-coming motelier, Signature Inns founded by John Bontreger in 1981 and based in Indianapolis, Indiana, bought the site in 1987.

The Howard Johnson's Restaurant was perhaps converted into a Big Boy and then subsequently closed and demolished. Its approximate location became occupied by a Brann's Steakhouse. Brann's is a Grand Rapids based eatery that started business in 1960 and by 2016 offered 10 locations across Michigan.

Photographs June 2016: Kummerlowe

Upon conversion into a Signature Inn in 1987 the site's Gate Lodge was demolished and replaced by Signature Inn's own spacious lobby design. Moreover a new wing of guest rooms was added in Signature Inn's architectural layout.

The chain grew to about 35 locations but in the 1990s filed for bankruptcy protection and the Grand Rapids Inn was sold in 1992. Subsequently it was rebranded as a Days Inn and then most recently as a Best Western.

For more on the history of Signature Inns visit:

Above & Below: Signature Inn guest wing added in 1987

October 2002: Phil Edwards
August 27, 2004: Kummerlowe
Well appointed as a Best Western, the original HoJo's guest rooms still hint at the site's origins. While the second vanity was long gone, the double shower heads remained. The room itself was spacious as ever but the ceiling had been lowered and a plate covered the spot were there had once been a pamper panel.
Photograph 2004: Dan Donahue
Photographs June 2016: Kummerlowe

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