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This included expanding to new states, opening restaurants on the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes, and adding hotels.The 1960s and 1970s were a golden age for Howard Johnson’s, the restaurant/hotel with the orange roof, but by the end of the 1970s, competition from fast food chains like Mc Donald’s and climbing oil prices, which cut back on the old-fashioned American family road trip, would signal the beginning of the end. The Bangor Ho Jo’s first opened in 1966, located immediately off Route 95 in Bangor, about 130 miles north of Portland.
Unable to resist experiencing this cultural icon for myself, I decided to make the drive to Bangor last week for lunch.
Here’s a recap of my visit, with an update on the restaurant’s fate at the bottom of the post. In 1925, Howard Deering Johnson started his first soda fountain in the Wollaston neighborhood of Quincy, Massachusetts, with a focus on making superior ice cream.
My mother remembers going to a Ho Jo’s for the first time in the early 60’s. “I think I ordered it because it was such a pretty color.” My boss, editor Mel Allen, also has a strong Howard Johnson’s memory.
It was the end of the school year, she was with her Brownie troop, and was excited to sit at the counter and order an ice cream. I’ll let him tell it: It was the summer after my freshman year in college. to 7 a.m., at Milprint, a plant that, among other things, produced the packaging for Marlboro cigarettes. Inside the Bangor Ho Jo’s restaurant, which is tucked behind the renovated hotel and is only open during select hours, it’s quiet, even though it’s lunchtime, but I guess that’s to be expected when you’re located off the highway instead of downtown, and don’t offer drive-though.
This index is based on Tim Ware's Infinite Jest index [pregnant pause] well..fact it IS Ware's index (except for a few ads I've added) and I post it here because the old url at (indeed itself) has gone to a better place.