Postcard circa 1950s: Kummerlowe
Professional photos circa 1954: Kummerlowe
Horsham, Pennsylvania
 -- US 611 North of Pa. Turnpike

Built and opened in 1954, the Horsham complex was Pennsylvania's very first Howard Johnson's Motor and Restaurant combination, and served as one of the first five Motor Lodges ever to have operated! Developed and owned by the Hankin family until 1982, the Motor Lodge lost its Howard Johnson's name in 1972 and continued on as the Horsham Motor Lodge. The Hankins also owned the Willow Grove HoJo's and a chain of five George Washington Motor Lodges which interestingly slightly resembled Howard Johnson's (they were even trimmed in orange!)

Completely non-standard, the Horsham complex was nonetheless modern and ground breaking in its design compared to roadside motels of its era. It was believed at the time to be ushering in a new age of reliable quality lodging for motorists with facilities and amenities usually reserved for expensive hotels.


Left: Bathing beauties of 1954 ushered in a new modern era of lodging for traveling Americans at Horsham's grand opening gala.

Exceptionally modern and well designed for its day, Horsham featured 82 spacious guest rooms and was conveniently located adjacent to the Willow Grove Navel Air Station.
Postcard circa 1950s: Dan Donahue
Photographs1998 & October 2000

After old man Hankin died his heirs feuded about how to settle his estate. The Hankin's business ventures had been set up in a partnership which the heirs decided to dissolve in 1978, but could not agree upon a means or method of liquidation. By 1982 their holdings were estimated to have been worth $72 million and they decided to sell off the five George Washington's and two former HoJo's for $19 million to the Tollman-Hundley firm based in New York.

Tollman-Hundley was mostly interested in the larger five George Washington's and immediately announced plans to renovate them. Apparently the two former HoJo's did not receive much attention and were most likely sold off. Horsham which had opened with such fanfare and recognition lingered vacant for several years before succumbing to the wrecker's ball in December of 2000. Its former site was paved over with a Wawa built in its place, and the locals celebrated.
Photograph circa 1950s: Courtesy of Eric Paddon

Also known as Hollowell, the restaurant adjacent to Horsham's Motor Lodge operated in tandem with it, and both enjoyed the success and reputation of the other. After the Hankin's gave up the HJ name in 1972 for the Lodge, the Restaurant only lasted about another year Under its Orange Roof.

From architecture to business model, Howard Johnson's was the epitome of perfection in its day and provided a long-lasting still relevant model for the hospitality industry.

Photograph November 1998: Kummerlowe
Its fortunes having long faded, the Restaurant went on to become a local eatery called the Red Lion. As a diner, the former Howard Johnson's remained easily recognizable until the late 1990s. By 2000 only the recycled sign base came to provide any clue that there had once been a link in the chain of Orange Roofed perfection at the site.
Photograph October 2010: Kummerlowe

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