Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge

Known Name(s)

Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge


490 Main St. East Hartford, CT

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status


Detailed History

Howard Johnson's was a restaurant chain founded in Massachusetts in 1925. In 1954, the company opened its first motel in Savannah, Georgia, and over time, the chain grew to include more than 1,000 franchised restaurants and 500 motor lodges.

East Hartford became home to a restaurant, opened in 1958, and a lodge soon after, located just off the exit of what had been the Wilbur Cross Highway (it was designated as I-84 that year). It was Connecticut's first Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge and Restaurant complex and featured more than eighty guest rooms, a ranch-style gate lodge, swimming pool and restaurant.

Howard Johnson's restaurants in Durham, North Carolina, and Chicago were the settings for anti-segregation protests in 1962. In December of that year, the company issued a policy statement that its restaurants were to serve customers without discrimination; presumably this applied to its motor lodges as well. The Green Book listings for Howard Johnson's locations began the following year.

The last of the Howard Johnson's restaurants and hotels were sold off in 1975. The East Hartford motel has changed brands several times and is currently an EconoLodge; the restaurant was eventually converted into the Connecticut State Police Union's Headquarters. Two other Connecticut Howard Johnson's Motor Lodges, in Hamden and Darien, were listed in The Green Book in the same issues; the Hamden property also survives, though much altered.

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