Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oh HoJo, Where'dja Go?

I bought a stack of oversized postcards at an estate sale this past weekend.  There were 12 postcards featuring 2 different designs, both for a Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge located at 6929 South Lindbergh Blvd in South St. Louis County, Missouri.

As it turns out, it was a only a few miles from the estate sale. That's my neck of the woods, so it intrigued me as I didn't remember there ever being a Howard Johnson's there.  The postcards appear to date from the late 1950's and early 1960's, based on the car models.
On that site today is a retail shopping center with a Marshalls, J. C. Penney furniture store and Krispy Kreme.  Not a hint of HoJo anywhere, completely erased from the landscape. 

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Starting with a corner drugstore and soda fountain in 1925, Howard Deering Johnson built an empire of 1,000 restaurants and 500 Motor Lodges. Known for their orange-roofed inns, weathervane-topped cupolas and 28 flavors of ice cream, they are remembered as an icon of the golden days of cross-country travel. But just as they were peaking in the 1970's, Hojo's fell victim to the oil embargo and the resulting drop in travel. By that time they had diversified their company with other restaurants such as Red Coach Grills and The Ground Round, one of which operated a few miles down the street from this location near 5731 South Lindbergh Blvd. Sold from company to company throughout the 1980's to the 2000's, there stands only 2 Howard Johnsons restaurants today, although the hotel chain continues under the umbrella of a corporate conglomerate that operates other familar chains such as Super 8, Travelodge and Knights Inn.


  1. Hello Tom, Would you be willing to sell these postcards? My Grandparents used to live in a rental house on the HoJo property. We spent every Summer(late 70s-until it was torn down)swimming in that pool. I always wondered what the spooky brown building to the left used to be. Thanks for posting these pics!

    1. I believe I have duplicates of these. Send me an email at with your address.

  2. Yep, I do believe the last remnant of the old HoJo is the large signboard now bearing the Marshall's logo; it's definitely the shape of late-20th-century Howard Johnson's signs.


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