Postcards circa 1950s-1960s

Roanoke-Hollins, Virginia -- 7656 Williamson Rd

Initially a stand alone Restaurant graced the Hollins site. It was the first of the two Roanoke area Howard Johnson's locations. Opened in 1952, the Restaurant was adjacent to the Hitching Post Motel which was described as having 55 rooms with 55 baths and was operated by H. M. H. Corporation.


The Hollins Motor Lodge nestled on a hill on the other side of the Restaurant from the Hitching Post Motel was likely opened in 1958. It was built along the lines of plans devised by Florida architect Rufus Nims (Motor Lodges by Nims: Ft Myers, Ocala, Little Rock, Ridgefield Park).

Postcard Caption: "Designed to conform to Virginia's most perfect setting. Superb views of mountains and rolling Virginia countryside. Private Patios--No Highway noises--Swimming and Wading Pools--TV's--AC--60 Rooms" 



The remains of this Motor Lodge were one of the most amazing finds! It was likely the most intact of the 1950s properties, and was still open as a motel in 2002--barely.The original 1950s sign with the Lamplighter was long gone, but at least the 1960s trapezoid version remained, complete with its original 'Motor Lodge' moniker.

Bravely ignoring the many foreboding "no trespassing" signs I quickly explored the property, but was spotted. The proprietor was none to happy that I was taking pictures and greeted me sternly as I approached the Gate Lodge. He may have even been close to calling the police! But he allowed me to enter the lobby and take a quick look around--it was nearly all original!! From the check-in counter to the orange HJ key tags it was just about as real as it could get without having a time machine. There was even a faded Howard Johnson's postcard taped on the cabinet behind the counter.

Satellite image © Microsoft Corp.
Photographs August 2002