Postcard ca. 1960s: Kummerlowe Archive
Concord, New Hampshire
 --U.S. 3 @ I-93 (Gulf St.)

It was truly the dawn of an exciting new era in hospitality when in October of 1960 the Concord Motor Lodge and Restaurant officially opened to serve "Sleepy and Hungry Americans!" With the Motor Lodge spread out along the ultra-modern limited access Everett Turnpike, the 60 guest room site was an early location to feature an A-frame Gate Lodge.

Above: Produced during the early 1960s, several Motor Lodges are known to have had their own representational technologically cutting edge Gate Lodge paper weights.

Howard Johnson's Landmark: 1960 35th Anniversary Edition, p. 10

The gala premier opening of Concord was held in October 1960 with an open house party from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. which was followed by the official ribbon cutting ceremony by Senator Bridges and later a cocktail party. Throngs of well wishers sauntered through the rooms and Gate Lodge admiring with "oh's and ah's" the modern decor and furnishings.

Above: Mr. John Knox, Master Knox, Mrs. John Knox, Senator Styles H. Bridges of New Hampshire, Mr C. K. Dwinell

Below: As a special eye-catching promotional tool, Mr. Knox, owner, uses an exact replica of a 1903 Oldsmobile as an ultra means of transportation.

Postcards ca. 1960s: Kummerlowe Archive
The following commentary is provided by Nate Coggeshall-Beyea who has extensively studied and documented the history and development of Howard Johnson's in New Hampshire:

Located just off Interstate 93, and clearly visible from this new super-highway, Concord introduced the state to HJ’s new franchising concept, a restaurant and motor lodge combination unit positioned conspicuously at an interstate entrance and/or exit point. It was clearly representative of drastic changes that were taking place in the world of automobile travel. With an increasingly greater number of motorists taking to the roads in America, traffic congestion was rapidly emerging as a major problem for travelers and the motoring public as a whole.

Once the darling frontier for restaurants, motor courts, and shops, roadsides had now become saturated and nearly overrun with businesses. Cars turning on and off the road to patronize these roadside establishments disrupted movement and flow, thus creating backups and traffic jams, not to mention all sorts of safety hazards and other problems. Suddenly, drivers were spending more and more time in their vehicles, stopping and going, sitting and waiting. Simply put, the narrow two-lane roadway system could not keep pace with the tremendous rise in traffic volume, and it soon proved way too inadequate. A new solution was needed to keep the impending gridlock at bay.

The arrival of the limited access interstate highway system greatly altered the basis for roadway travel in the U.S. As modern multi-lane highways, these new interstates could handle a much higher volume of traffic than their predecessors. Moreover, with limited access points, the congestion that had previously been generated by roadside enterprises was reduced considerably. People could now get to their destinations quicker and more easily, shortening the time they spent on the road. This change forced businesses to shift their focus from roadsides to on and off ramps, where weary motorists could stop and take a break from their highway journeys before continuing onward. HJ was quick to take advantage of these new markets and had soon established a solid foothold at interstate exists as well as rest areas.

Route 93 was New Hampshire’s new superhighway north and south through the center of the state. It joined the U.S. interstate highway system in the early 1960s and immediately displaced old Route 3 as the state’s official passageway. Situated directly in the path of Route 93 was Concord, New Hampshire’s capital city. Concord was certainly the focal point of new interstate travel within the state, and the city quickly became a crossroads for major routes heading north, south, east, and west, a kind of bridge to all popular destinations within the state. This fact alone made Concord a naturally stopping point for motorists heading north or south on Route 93 or making connections with other roadways or highways. Soon, the access points to 93 in Concord drew in motels, restaurants, and shopping centers designed specifically for travelers needing either a stop-over or a short break. Thus, with its multiple interchanges, Concord was truly an ideal spot for HJ to enter the interstate market in New Hampshire with one of its new restaurant and motor lodge combination units.

Photos ca. 1996: Nate Coggeshall-Beyea


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