Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge

Known Name(s)

Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge


2260 Whitney Ave. New Haven, CT

Establishment Type(s)


Physical Status


Detailed History

Howard Johnson's, the well-known restaurant and motel chain which operated along highways across the United States, opened in Hamden, just off the Wilbur Cross Parkway, in 1961. Like the Bridgeport Motor Inn, it was identified in The Green Book under the more recognizable abutting urban centers, in this case New Haven. The Hamden location was run by a local real-estate business called the C.A. White Company, which was founded by the Schaffer family; three generations of Schaffers managed the Hamden Howard Johnson's.

The Howard Johnson's brand gained national political attention in 1957 when a restaurant in Delaware refused service to Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, the finance minister of Ghana. This prompted sit-ins at Howard Johnson's eateries across the country, organized by the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Following the protests, Howard Johnson's issued a statement denouncing segregation in its facilities, and by 1963 several locations, including the Hamden one, appeared The Green Book. The chain began to fade during the oil crisis of the 1970s and closed its last restaurant in 2022.

The Hamden restaurant and motel included many features standard for Howard Johnson's locations across the country, particularly the famous orange roof. After a fire, the Hamden restaurant was sold, remodeled and reopened in 1987 as the Hamden Town House. Eventually, the motel was also sold; it currently operates as a Clarion Hotel & Suites. Despite extensive renovation to both the interior and exterior of the facility, some of the original Howard Johnson's architecture can still be observed along the back of the motel, and the restaurant retains its classic metal counter seat frames.

Related Issues