Photograph 2003: Courtesy of Phil Edwards
Satellite view © Microsoft Corp.
Pittsburgh-North, Pa.
AKA Butler Valley
 -- 3004 East Hardies Rd. (Rt. 8 @ Pa. Turnpike)

Built on an eight acre parcel of land once belonging to Wilbur T. Donaldson (the county's tax collector), the Butler Valley complex was developed by the Bates & Springer Corporation of Cleveland, Ohio. Moreover the facility was designed by Cleveland architect Phillip Wasserstrom using Howard Johnson specifications, and built by Rany, Michaelson, and Tucker also of Cleveland. When the Motor Lodge opened on July 24, 1964 it was the 186th in the chain, and Gus Pandeladis was its manager.

An incredible location with its sight line from the Turnpike's Butler Valley Interchange (get in the far right lane, DAD!), the 100 room Motor Lodge featured HoJo's most classic design and layout.

Photographs 2003: Courtesy of Phil Edwards
Right: Although the signature A-frame Gate Lodge and Motor Lodge itself were amazingly intact, it should be noted that the Gate Lodge originally featured a circa 1960s spire type cupola that was topped with a Lamplighter weather vane. The more stylized Beacons replaced spires at many HoJo's during the later 1970s.

Set slightly back and apart from the Motor Lodge, the restaurant was converted into the Empire Gourmet Chinese Buffet after 1985 -- the same year that the Motor Lodge became known simply as the Pittsburgh North Motor Lodge. While the Restaurant was demolished in 2002 and a Max & Erma's was built in its place, the Motor Lodge which had operated as an independent until 2001 remained standing until at least the middle 2000s. Incredibly intact and remarkably unchanged since its days as a Howard Johnson's, the Motor Lodge had become a time-capsule of lodging's past!

Ah, if I could just have a tour ...

Photographs courtesy of Bob Venditti