Postcard postmarked March 31, 1946
Allentown, Pennsylvania -- 647 Union Blvd

Predating WW II, the Allentown Howard Johnson's was opened in 1940 or 1941. The end of the 1930s and the first two years of the '40s saw Howard Johnson's rapidly spread into new territory. Receiving great publicity with its presence along the just opened Pennsylvania Turnpike, Howard Johnson's represented a new order.

The Allentown Restaurant was owned by licensee John von Sneidern who also owned the downtown Winchester, Virginia Restaurant. He was an active member of the Agent's Executive Board of Howard Johnson Operators and served as the Chairman of his district in the late 1940s.

Postcard courtesy of Jack Sheppard circa 1950s

Ambler, Pennsylvania -- Bethlehem Pike (Route 309)
Opened in 1940 by James M. McConnell for his son, daughter and son-in-law. The Ambler Restaurant was one of the first in the greater Philadelphia area. Mr. McConnell had been an acquaintance of Howard D. Johnson's and Mr Johnson convinced him to move from Boston, Massachusetts and set up a restaurant in Ambler. The Restaurant did a respectable business and was one of only a few franchisee operated Howard Johnson's not to have been shuttered during WWII! Highway realignment and changing traffic patterns as well as a tragic fire led to the Restaurant's ultimate demise in 1964. Mr. Foster's daughter noted that an electrical problem caused a catastrophic fire resulting in the building burning OUT rather than down. That is to say that the Orange Roof tiles kept the heat in, and the fire totaled the interior. A clause in the Restaurant's insurance policy required that the roof had to collapse in order for a settlement. Thus Ambler was never rebuilt.

Camp Hill, Pennsylvania
 -- Camp Hill Shopping Center
Having survived conversion into the Deli Baker Ice Maker concept in 1984-'85 and then Marriott's ownership, Camp Hill was transferred to Franchise Associates Inc. in June of 1991. The once busy Restaurant was closed by 1995. A bank occupies its former location.
Photos April 1, 2007

Glenside, Pennsylvania -- Church Rd @ Easton Rd.

A classic Nims-type, Glenside was opened in about 1959. In the end it was owned by the Company, and Marriott assumed its operation in 1986 after it purchased HJ. Marriott's initial plans were to convert the better HoJo's locations into Big Boy's and dispose of the rest, but by 1987 it had abandoned the Big Boy brand. Unfortunately for several Howard Johnson's Restaurants like Glenside, they were converted before Marriott existed the restaurant business. The former HoJo's apparently continues to operate as a restaurant and has recycled the "roof" logo street sign.


Below: Although not Glenside, the unit shown (possibly Claymont) provides the only image of a HoJo's to Big Boy conversion currently available.
1986 Marriott Annual Report: Courtesy of Larry Passaro

Photographs 2003: Courtesy of Phil Edwards
Irwin, Pennsylvania -- 8695 U.S 30 (@ Penna Tpke)
Heavily disguised by Phil's 2003 visit, the former Irwin area Restaurant dates from the mid-to-late 1940s. It was a HoJo's until 1976 or early 1977. The restaurant has been called Teddy's for over twenty years. The circa 1960s Trapezoid street sign recycled by Teddy's gives away the former location. Note that the unit was sited near the original western terminus of the Pennsylvania Turnpike and enjoyed many years of successful business on account of its proximity to "America's Super Highway."