Postcard circa 1960s
Breezewood, Pennsylvania -- Lincoln Hwy @ Penna Tpke

Breezewood a settlement of only about one hundred or so permanent residents was largely created after 1940 as a result of the Pennsylvania Turnpike's interchange with the Lincoln Highway. Sprouting a host of roadside services to serve motorists and truckers especially after I-70 was built, Breezewood became known as "the town of motels," and "gateway to the south." It was fitting then, that a Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant complex came to occupy a prominent site where motorists exiting the Turnpike, I-70, or just traveling on the Lincoln Highway could easily spot it!

Among the first handful of Howard Johnson's Motor Lodges to have been built, the Breezewood complex opened in 1956. Like the other first few, it was franchised and joined the Superior Motor Court referral chain.

Architectural Record April, 1958 pp. 205-208

Above: Described as an experimental Gate Lodge, it was hoped that the cupola topped entry-way would architecturally unify the separate Motor Lodge and Restaurant operations.

Below: Breezewood had a manager's apartment above the property's office--a feature that would not be replicated at later locations.

Lower: The single-level guest buildings were designed to allow guests the convenience of driving up to their rooms, unloading under a sheltered walkway, and going directly inside.


Postcard circa 1970
Circa 1970s: Dan Doanhue

A pre-standardized property, Breezewood's Motor Lodge was designed by Carl Koch. By his plan he claimed "to stretch out  the buildings to call attention to the project yet provide something high to relieve the monotony." Moreover he contended "that the danger in such an arrangement is that the passing tourist may never know how attractive the project is until he drives up and walks through." Shortly after designing Breezewood, Mr. Koch and the Howard Johnson Company parted ways.

Perhaps a forward design for the 1950s, Carl Koch's Breezewood layout fortunately did not stick. HoJo's in-house architects and designers utilizing ideas conceived of by Rufus Nims worked out the better designed Motor Lodges that we have all come to appreciate which set a standard that few in the industry are able to match even today!  

Postcard (detail) circa 1970
Satellite view © Microsoft Corp.