Postcard circa 1950s: Kummerlowe
Rockingham, North Carolina -- 602 S. Hancock St.

The Rockingham Post-Dispatch in 1953 chronicled the exciting news that the citizenry of Richmond County were soon to enjoy their very own Howard Johnson's Restaurant! The first of the headlines read, "Deed Howard Johnson Filed."

Discoverd by researcher, Robby Delius, the first article published on April 16, 1953 announced that "plans have been drawn and bids asked for contractors for the proposed new Howard Johnson restaurant to be built half a mile south of Rockingham on Highway 1." The deed indicated that the site consisted of 1.34 acres and was purchased for a sum of $8,000. Principles in the project were Mitchall Wallace and Stafford and Associates (along with George K. Kaster who owned the adjacent Sandman Motel). Chartered in March of 1953, the parties created Anchor Enterprises to own and manage the franchised Howard Johnson's.

The Post-Dispatch breathlessly announced in the afternoon edition on May 7, 1953 that "Restaurant Contract is let to Dickerson of Monroe. Another Unit in the Howard Johnson Chain. Be Ready by Sept. 1st?" Interestingly the May 7th piece reported that J. A. Cicco was the Restaurant's architect. Cicco was the chief architect of the Howard Johnson Company, and thus Rockingham's plans were standard issue.

Finally in the last article unearthed by Mr. Delius and published on September 17, 1953, the nearly open eatery was described as "one of the handsomest and most complete restaurants in the South." Its opening was pushed back to September 28, 1953 and was initially managed by Tom Evans who had operated a Howard Johnson's in Charlotte. The restaurant was said to seat 83 and had been built at a cost of $65,000.

Rockingham was a Howard Johnson's from 1953 until 1972.

1957 motel stationary header: Kummerlowe
Photos below are from Joe and Etta Kosaveach's 1957 honeymoon road trip when they spent a night in Rockingham, NC at the Sandman Motel adjacent to the Rockingham Howard Johnson's!
Note the Village Motel in the background which was on the east side of U.S. 1.
Originally part of the Restaurant's ownership was shared by the principles of the adjacent Sandman Motel. Ron Goodman whose family came to own the eatery and later operated it as Goodman's Restaurant recalled that the country singer, Marty Robbins was a patron at both Goodman's and the Sandman when he was in town racing in the Nascar circuit at the local speedway.
Photograph September 2007: Robbie Delius
In 2007 the Sandman was reduced to rubble...
Postcard circa 1960s: Kummerlowe
Lonnie McCaskill's Village Motel was opposite the Howard Johnson's and listed its proximity to the Restaurant as a convenience to potential lodgers. In 1960, AAA described the motel as "an attractive 47 unit ranch-style motel with pleasant rooms," but did not mention the nearby HoJo's. Still standing in 2006, the Village Motel had become the Economy Motel.


Photograph 2005: Robbie Delius
Photographs 2006: Kummerlowe
Photograph 2005: Robbie Delius
Photograph July 2007: Penne Sandbeck
Photo 2000s: Phil Edwards
Photograph 2005: Robbie Delius
Next Page----->

The purpose of this site is informational. It is neither commercial nor representative of any brand, company, or business. Trade names, trademarks, etc. that are depicted remain the property of their respective owners. Please contact this site's owner prior to reproducing any part of it. Works from contributors (includes photographs, ephemera, etc.) must not be reproduced without their explicit consent.