Postcard postmarked 1965: Courtesy of Dan Donahue
Totally Bogus HJ -- Smithfield, NC -- 198 Mallard Rd.


Immediately adjacent to and in direct competition with the Springfield Howard Johnson's, was Henry Johnson's.

It is almost inconceivable that the Henry Johnson's motor lodge and Restaurant complex was built. In addition to the Restaurant being a HoJo's clone, the Motor Lodge was built to resemble a 1950s style Howard Johnson's with a ranch type Gate Lodge.

Postcard postmarked July 29, 1966
The Howard Johnson Company didn't take long to fire back, and took Henry Johnson's to Federal Court about the matter. Robby Delius found the following article about the case in a North Carolina newspaper from 1963:

Restaurant Chain Contends Tourists 'Pirated' By Name
Raleigh (AP) -- The Howard Johnson restaurant chain contended in federal court here Tuesday that tourists are being "pirated" away from the firm by Henry Johnson restaurants in Smithfield, Lumberton and Four Oaks.

The Howard Johnson chain asked in a suit that the Henry Johnson restaurant be enjoined from encouraging any confusion between the two.The national chain has asked that the North Carolina firm stop using the "Henry Johnson" or "Johnson's," that it remove the cupola and change the color of the roof of its Smithfield restaurant, and that its highway signs be altered.

In an answer to the complaint, the Henry Johnson chain denied imitating the national concern.

Apparently Howard Johnson's won its overall case, and many of the changes that it had requested were carried out in short order. Ironically the fake HJ restaurant remained standing and open long after the authentic HoJo's had been closed and demolished. In the shot below you can see the real Howard Johnson's site in the background. Both the fake and real restaurants had been side-by-side facing I-95!
Photograph December 29, 2001

Postcard postmarked July 29, 1966

Located adjacent to the Smithfield Motor Lodge was the South Smithfield Johnson's restaurant at U.S. 701 & I-95.



Postcard circa 1965: Courtesy of Dan Donahue
Finally is Johnson's Lumberton location which was perhaps less blatant in its attempt to copy Howard Johnson's. Nonetheless its highway sign and cupola served to confuse potential patrons. The restaurant was adjacent to the Greenbrier motel, and the image below shows the eatery sans the cupola post settlement.
Postcard postmarked July 29, 1966