Biloxi, Mississippi Howard Johnson's motor Lodge and Restaurant
Postcard ca. 1970s: Kummerlowe
Biloxi, Mississippi -- 9200 West Beach Dr (2428 Beach Blvd-U.S. 90)

Built during the Mississippi Gulf coast's long redevelopment following Hurricane Camille, the Biloxi Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant complex opened in 1973. Featuring contemporary design, the property lacked a Gate Lodge or separate lobby, yet it included an attached "A" frame Restaurant--complete with a finned spire cupola topped by a Simple Simon and the Pieman weather vane. Finally, a Rum Keg Lounge rounded out the property's offerings.

The modern space-saving high rise Motor Lodge design featured about 200 guest rooms in its relatively compact seven-story building. The Biloxi beachfront Howard Johnson's may have been developed by the sizeable McLean Enterprise operation located in Springfield, Missouri (based on archival records Biloxi was operated at least for a period of time by McLean). Located across U.S. 90 from the Gulf of Mexico, the Biloxi franchise remained a Howard Johnson until the 1990s.

Brochure ca. 1970s: Dan Donahue
1984 AAA TourBook page A62: Kummerlowe

Postcard ca. 1990s: Kummerlowe

Above: Upon leaving the Orange Fold, Biloxi called itself the Gulf beach resort hotel. Note from the postcard view that the Restaurant had become independent and that an entryway was created where the Dairy Bar's floor-to-ceiling windows had been.

Below & Lower: Flirting with a brand and the advantages of a reservations network, the former Howard Johnson's briefly became the Gulf Beach Travelodge. Having become valuable property after casino gaming took off on the Mississippi Coast, a Waffle House was installed in the former Restaurant. Note that the "new" entry mentioned above was removed.

Photographs 1999 : Kummerlowe
Photos 2003 : Phil Edwards

Above & below: By Phil Edwards' visit, the Travelodge name had been dropped and the old Howard Johnson had become just the Gulf Beach Resort once again (minus the word "hotel" on its sign). Biloxi, having been transformed by gaming, had become the site of wholesale redevelopment by 2005--in fact developers had come to covet the former HoJo's site.

Developer Ken Barnes of Gulf Beach Associates LLC called it "the best location on the beach." The former Howard Johnson's was slated to have been razed and replaced with an 18 story "upscale condominium tower" featuring 230 units ranging in size from efficiencies to 3,000 sq. ft. penthouses.

Below: Craig Trent had the opportunity to take in the former Biloxi Howard Johnson's one last time. He reported that the Motor Lodge was suffering from serious neglect, but that the Restaurant, as a Waffle House, looked to be in decent shape. Back when the complex was new, he stayed there with his family and recalled his visit fondly.

Photo ca. 2005: Craig Trent
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