Photo ca. 1940s: Uncredited
Hampton Beach, New Hampshire -- Broadway

A seasonal stand, Hampton Beach was opened in about 1937. A devastating fire burned it to the ground as well as most of the boardwalk's other businesses in 1950. The unit was rebuilt and reopened in a more substantial structure which offered standard dining choices as well as quick service for take out.

Above & Below: Seen before and then after the fire, the Howard Johnson's was a "stand," and then rebuilt to offer full-service.

Postcard postmarked Aug. 1956: 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:

The first HJ franchise at Hampton Beach arrived in the mid-1930s. This was a streetside store, located along the hectic and well-traveled Hampton Beach Boulevard. By the 1930s, Hampton Beach was quickly becoming a summer haven for motorists. As New Hampshire’s largest and most popular coastal beach, Hampton offered travelers plenty of opportunity for summer fun, relaxation, and refreshment. In addition to long and sandy stretches of oceanfront for swimming and sunbathing, there was plenty more to do and see away from the beach.

Dotted with countless shops, arcades, and food and ice cream stands, Hampton Beach Boulevard was a hot spot for activity throughout the day and well into the night-time hours. Musical performances and variety acts were also common along the strip, drawing people in. Thus, it was a natural location for HJ to erect one of its streetside stands, amidst all the excitement and commotion.
The first Hampton Beach store was strictly a walk-up window service establishment. Here, beach goers and shoppers could grab a quick bit to each, such as tendersweet clams and Frankforts, or chose among 28 flavors of HJ’s homemade ice cream, helping them to cool off from the hot summer sun. Next door to the Hampton Beach store was the Playland Arcade, a favorite among visitors interested in arcade games during their stay at the beach.

Business was clearly successful for this HJ franchise during the spring and summer months. Like other seasonal establishments along the Boulevard stretch, this store was probably closed during the winter months due to a lack of traffic and patronage. The Hampton Beach store was clearly a warm-weather enterprise.

A devastating fire on July 14th, 1950, brought an end to the first Hampton Beach store, along with numerous other businesses, including the Playland Arcade.But without missing a beat, both HJ and the Playland Arcade were back in business by 1951, each rebuilt at their old locations. The fire certainly gave HJ a chance to upgrade its facility, and the new store featured indoor dining service for the very first time. Customers could now enjoy the same kind of sit-down meal and service they had come to depend on from other HJ franchises. The new Hampton Beach store remained a busy operation through the 1960s. Its last known directory listing was 1969. Perhaps it fell victim to competition from the Portsmouth store, similar to the fate bestowed upon Seabrook.

More likely, it was the pure saturation of the Hampton Beach market with restaurants, food stands, and eateries by the late 1960s that ultimately lead to HJ’s departure from this location.

Right, Above & Higher: Photos documenting the catastrophic 1950 fire at Hampton Beach have been reproduced from the Lane Memorial Library's website. The specific photographs can be found on the page titled Index to Hampton Beach Fire Photos* and the images were credited to L. Branniff.

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