Postcard postmarked September 14, 1966: Kummerlowe Archive
Lake of the Ozarks, MO -- 3501 Bagnell Dam Blvd.
Only three miles from Bagnell Dam, the Lake Ozark complex was opened in 1966. Its picturesque location was between Lake Ozark and Osage Beach. AAA's 1968-'69 TourBook description indicated that the Motor Lodge was "very inviting" and its guest rooms were "tastefully appointed." When built, Lake of the Ozarks featured "96 Luxurious Units and a Heliport."
Postcard views ca. 1970: Kummerlowe Archive
Above & Below: Its outdoor pool served to be inadequate at attracting year-round visitors, and in 1971 an indoor heated swimming pool was installed between the two guest buildings.

Photos May 1, 1993: Scott Sargent
Above & Below: Completely intact as recently as 1993. Even the white Lamplighter figural was still in place on the guest building behind the Gate Lodge!
Postcard ca. 1970s: Kummerlowe Archive

Photos July 2004: Phil Edwards

The complex was complete with both its intact Motor Lodge and Restaurant until the middle 1990s. Remarkably the Restaurant was the second to last Howard Johnson's in the Show Me State! Probably in about 1995 or '96, the complex lost its name and became the Lamplighter Motor Lodge and Island Restaurant. Unbranded, the site was only lightly altered giving it a brief reprieve before the demolitioner and stucco mafia would arrive to utterly destroy its curb appeal.

By the early 2000s, the Motor Lodge was converted into a Baymont Inn and the Restaurant a Denny's. Note that the Baymont brand had been owned by La Quinta, but in January 2006 the Blackstone Group (liquidator and destroyer that it is) purchased La Quinta and its holdings for $3.4 billion. Then only two months later in March, Blackstone sold the Baymont Inn brand to the Cendant Hotel Group (recall that Cendant is now Wyndham International--Howard Johnson's brand owner and don't forget that Blackstone had once bought, owned, and then sold HJ sucking it dry). Of course Baymont is not the storied brand that Howard Johnson's was, but it is nonetheless interesting to see how Blackstone and its associates continue down the same path of destruction for quick profiteering.


Above & Below: Lake Ozark's Restaurant was apparently converted into a Denny's using the same architect as the one who converted St. Charles--probably both locations are owned (or were) by the same entity.

Lower: Just a hint of HoJo-ness was evident on the pool side as sliders and appealing unstuccoed wall surfaces remained.


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