Postcard postmarked 11-18-1967: Tim & Tom Bernert
Photo 2003: Phil Edwards

Above: Back in the glory days businessmen were tended to in Dayton's ultra-modern signature A-frame Gate Lodge

Post WWII Dayton became a vibrant hub of American industrial economic opportunity, and by the late 1950s begged for modern reliably hospitality offerings like Howard Johnson's. The location chosen for Dayton's HoJo's complex was ideally sited along I-75 and adjacent to an alignment of the old Dixie Highway. Moreover a host of roadside services sprang up not just at the Interstate's interchanges but also all along the route of the Dixie which served to complement the wondrously modern Dayton HoJo's!

Alas with the passage of time, the vicinity of the Dayton property became crime-ridden and a liability to viability. Like dominos most of the respectable businesses pulled out of the area or failed leaving the former Howard Johnson's and a nearby HI to fend for themselves in a murky sea of anarchy poorly policed by the local authorities.

Above: Its modernity diminished, at least the A-frame's form and exposed woodwork remained. Note the Patel-esque hideous un-decorative light treatment--every other fixture above the front desk featured exposed compact fluorescent bulbs.
Postcard ca. 1970s: Kummerlowe Archive
Photos April 2004: Kummerlowe Archive

Plans Gone Awry As They Sometimes do: My visit in 2004 to the former Dayton Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge had included overnighting there, but it wasn't meant to be! After checking in and paying for a room I entered the guest building perpendicular to the amazingly intact squat Gate Lodge, and enthusiastically took two steps at a time making my way through the vintage-ness and entered my room. No sooner had I lined up the couple of interior photos seen here that I had a prospective visitor pounding on my door. He was "Pimp Daddy," and no doubt a long term resident of the former HoJo's. Since I did not answer the rapping, he retired to his room to phone me. My bad--I answered the ringing phone thinking it was Mr. Patel--Doh it wasn't. Pimp Daddy advised me in short order that he took care of all of his homies (and I could be his?), and that he would fix me up with whatever I needed or ever wanted--for a price--his assistant Lucrecia would handle the details.

I required a hasty and immediate departure. Should I leap from the balcony or simply walk through the door? Needless to say I didn't leap, but exited with all of the decorum with which I could muster through the guest room's door, was unmolested to my car and made a speedy vehicular retreat (upon my burning rubber departure I spied an amused Lucrecia in her lingerie on her balcony observing my flight).

Now listen:
It's okay, I understand
This ain't no never-never land
I hope that when this fish is gone
I'll see you when your clothes are on
Take your car, yes we will, we'll take your car and drive it
Take it to a motel room, and take 'em off in private
A part of me has just been wrecked
The pages from my mind are stripped
Oh no, I can't deny it
Oh yeah, I guess I got to buy it
J Geils Band
Postcard postmarked 11-18-1967: Tim & Tom Bernert

Above: Shown at the culmination of Howard Johnson's colorful perfection of hospitality, lucky patrons enjoyed Dayton's outdoor pool.

Below & Higher: Perfection lost in a Silent Spring, Dayton's swimming pool was seen never to have been reopened.

Photos April 2004: Kummerlowe Archive

Screen captures from April 5, 2010: www.whiotv.com
Below & Lower: Officials giddy over having secured Federal "stimulus" funds to demolish Dayton didn't even get the photo-op correct for their propagandizing. Note that the WHIO television reporter Jim Otte got it right, for he recognized that the best spot was to be in front of the iconic Gate Lodge--perhaps the politicians and bureaucrats feared being recognized in front of the strip club!