University of Houston's
Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management

Archive & Hospitality Hall of Honor


Photographs March 15, 2006: Above L-R; Alice Sheets Marriott, J. Willard Marriott, Sr, Howard D. Johnson, Walter Elias "Walt" Disney, and Barron Hilton


The Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston was founded in 1969 and has been generously supported by the Hilton legacy. Housed adjacent and physically connected to the college's archive and Hospitality Hall of Honor is the Hilton University of Houston Hotel and Conference Center. This full service hotel provides students a hands on learning experience in hospitality management.

Complimenting the Archives, the Hospitality Hall of Honor was created in 1995 to "memorialize its inductees' achievements and their business leadership, as well as provide a lasting tribute to the companies they conceived and built during their lifetime."

In Good Company
In 1999 Howard D. Johnson was inducted into the Hospitality Hall of Honor on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the brand he created--Howard Johnson's.


The Hall itself is divided into the Leaders Gallery where modern-day portraits of the inductees are displayed, and the Hall of Honor which consists of display cases containing memorabilia related to the hospitality concerns that the inductees had guided and or created.
By 2006, the Howard Johnson display had been "downsized," its spot light burned out and a picture fallen from its mat, the display was sloppy and looked to have been thrown together on the spur of the moment.


The photograph below shows the original Howard Johnson full-sized case which had been located third from the left in the above photo. Several of the documents in the display were copies of items from my personal archive of Howard Johnson's artifacts which I had allowed the archivist, Cathleen Baird, to copy when I assisted her in 1999 just prior to Howard D. Johnson's induction into her University of Houston's Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management Hospitality Industry Hall of Honor.

Academic Inauthenticity
Perhaps the downsized and sloppy display case can be forgiven. After all time, money, and space constraints serve to limit the possibilities of human endevour. However, it is INEXCUSABLE that the published history presented by the Archive and Hospitality Hall of Honor is wrought with factual errors and untruths about Howard D. Johnson and the creation of his hospitality empire. The most glaring fallacy perpetuated by their fabulation is that HDJ inherited the original Wollaston store from his father, for that is the farthest thing from the truth--Howard D. Johnson inherited nothing but grief! Next they purport that Reginald Sprague wanted to use the "Howard Johnson name to promote sales at a new restaurant he was opening." Another complete falsehood. Sprague only wanted to lease a spot to HDJ out on Cape Cod for another of his stands. What actually happened was that Johnson convinced Captain Sprague to sign up to be the first licensee creating the birth of restaurant franchising!

With the resources available to the Conrad N. Hilton College, one would assume that they would conduct rigorous research in order to present something closer to HISTORICAL FACT!

© Hospitality Industry Archives, University of Houston circa 2000

For a concise and accurate mini-biography of Howard D. Johnson and the beginnings of his chain consult Timothy Patrick Cahill's Profiles in the American Dream published by The Christopher Publishing House of Hanover, Massachusetts in 1994. For yet more information, consult the library at the Quincy Historical Society which contains a collection of archived Howard Johnson Company records.