Postcards circa 1940s
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania -- 4001 North Front St. (4031 River Rd.)
Sited at a scenic spot facing the Susquehanna River just north of Pennsylvania's capital city, this first Harrisburg area Restaurant was built in the "neo-colonial" style that had typified units during the post War period until the early 1950s. The Restaurant was a Howard Johnson's for about 40 years.
Image 1972: Courtesy of Robert Levy

An Orange Roof Gleaming in the flood? A minimal hurricane, Agnes was the first of the 1972 storm season. First striking the Florida Panhandle it weakened moving across the Southeast before regaining tropical storm strength and merging with a non-tropical system. Although its initial impact was relatively weak it was the convergence of the storm with the temperate weather system that wreaked havoc in the Northeast and remains to date the most costly natural disaster in Pennsylvania's history.

As much as 19 inches of rain fell in some areas during a two day period on already saturated ground. Coupled with the terrain of central Pennsylvania, the situation spelled disaster for low lying valley areas. Among several rivers, the Susquehanna was no exception to the devastating flooding. In Harrisburg, not only did the HoJo's flood, but also everything that was built along the river including the governor's mansion where Gov. Shapp and his wife were evacuated by boat from the inundation!

Satellite view © Microsoft Corp.

Postcards circa 1950s
Note that these later postcard views show that a wing was added--probably during the early 1950s.
Photographs April 1, 2007

The last Orange Roofed "Colonial" ... With its Orange Roof, dormers and cupola, Harrisburg is the last of the more than 200 "neo-colonials" to retain the general exterior integrity of a post WWII Howard Johnson's. Moreover it has survived largely intact long enough to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Operated as the Jade Chinese Buffet in 2007, the building was still recognizable and even a few HoJo's cues remained inside.

While the former HJ survived as a Chinese eatery, the newer next door Ponderosa was not so fortunate.

Photographs 2005: Courtesy of Brain Florence
Photographs April 1, 2007