SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

January 10, 2014

Book Notes: History of Howard Johnson's restaurants at Danvers library

There was a time when it was hard to travel an American highway without seeing the orange roof of a Howard Johnson's restaurant or motor lodge.

They included several franchises on the North Shore — on Bridge Street in Salem, on Route 114 in Danvers and on Route 1 in Lynnfield and Saugus.

But today only two restaurants in the country display that name: in Bangor, Maine, and Lake Placid, N.Y.

Anyone curious to learn about the rise and fall of this iconic American business — or who simply misses their 28 flavors of ice cream — can listen to Anthony Sammarco discuss his book "A History of Howard Johnson's," at Danvers Public Library Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Mostly, they will learn about the man whose name was on the signs, Howard Deering Johnson, who was born in Dorchester in 1897 and grew up in Wollaston, a neighborhood in Quincy.

"He's called the father of the franchise industry," Sammarco said. "When you franchise your name, you want it to be the same wherever it is.

"He was not just branding his name on the restaurant with an orange roof, but also branding the quality of food and presentation, and the same flavor throughout the country."

The first HoJo's was a drug store Johnson bought in Wollaston using a $500 loan from his mother and $2,000 from a friend of the family, Dr. George Dalton.

The store had a soda fountain that served three types of ice cream, but Johnson introduced his own "rich, creamy ice cream" recipe using natural ingredients, Sammarco writes.

Soon he would open ice cream stands at Wollaston, Nantasket and Revere beaches, and between the three of them reportedly sold 14,000 cones one summer Sunday.

Johnson opened his first restaurant in Quincy Square in 1929 and signed a contract with his first franchisee — who was located in Orleans, on Cape Cod — a few years later.

When he retired in 1959 and turned the business over to his son, Howard Brennan Johnson Jr., there were 675 restaurants and 175 motor lodges bearing Johnson's name, with annual sales of $127 million.

In 1965 there were 8,000 waitresses working at Howard Johnson's restaurants, and former employees often discuss their experiences at his speaking engagements, Sammarco said.

"It did encompass a huge segment of society," he said.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • Poundstone2 Wait, wait ... it's Paula Paula Poundstone often makes fun of her own awkward appearance, which she emphasizes by wearing men's ties and wide-lapel suits. "Is it me, or do I have the worst posture in the history of the world?" she asks in one routine. "I hope to eventually go

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • mainstage 'Servant of Two Masters' designed to keep you laughing The Mainstage Theatre at Salem State, which will shut its doors in June, opened 30 years ago to the sound of laughter. With performances this weekend and next of Carlo Goldoni's "The Servant of Two Masters," it's going to close that way, as well. "

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • fishes North Shore Entertainment Calendar Music MUSIC AT GULU-GULU. Shows are at 8 p.m. unless otherwise noted, at Gulu-Gulu Cafe, 247 Essex St., Salem. Thursday, April 17, David Simmons Annual Theme Night, a Simon and Garfunkel Tribute; Friday, April 18, Lowman, alternative; Saturday, April

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • 140415_SN_HAND_READERSEYE The reader's eye Name: Corey Kramer Hometown: Beverly Description: "I pass by this view every day on my way to school. This photo was taken at Endicott Beach. I enjoy taking photos of nature, which does not require human recognition to show its beauty. I have done ve

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • riverhouse Good cause Cheer on the Red Sox, support the River House Everyone is invited to watch the Red Sox game at the second annual Danvers Community Lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday in the parking lot of Maple Street Congregational Church, 90 Maple St. Cheer on the Sox as they play the Baltimore Orioles and pa

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Father of four is selfish to put health at risk Dear Abby: I am a 34-year-old wife and mother of four. I'm concerned about my husband. He is 44 and drinks at home every evening after work. I don't mind him having a few cans of beer, but he drinks between six and 12 a day. He refuses to see a doct

    April 17, 2014

  • Thursday's Best Bets Best Bets for Thursday, April 17

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Cellphone snoop discovers boyfriend is cheating

    Dear Abby: I have been in a long-distance relationship with "Victor" for several years. Recently, I began to suspect he was cheating. What raised my suspicion was that I suddenly couldn't reach him on the weekends. Usually, we would Skype -- Sunday n

    April 16, 2014

  • Wednesday's Best Bets Best Bets for Wednesday, April 16

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Signs of an abuser apply to women as well as men Dear Abby: I read your Jan. 8 column about the warning signs of an abuser. Would you use your influence to say that men are also victims of abuse? My son was in a three-year relationship with a woman who scored 15 out of 15 on your list. We knew it

    April 15, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker