Category Archives: Danbury

Howard Johnson’s

The Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge in Danbury Connecticut

In the 1960s and 70s Howard Johnson’s was America’s largest chain of restuarants with over a thousand locations.  Begun as a drugstore and soda fountain in Massachusetts in the early 1920s, Howard Johnson’s reinvented ice cream (their 28 Flavor –all high in butterfat–became famous) and hospitality. And as the country and the highway system boomed after World War Two, Howard Johnson’s standardized roadside accomodations providing comfort and a sense of continuity for millions.  For me, Howard Johnson’s distilled the essential qualities that make a hotel (whether it is the Ritz, the Hilton or the Plaza) good beds, clean towels and room service or at least a cafe.

When we moved back to the States from London, we stayed briefly in New York and then, while Mother and our fairy ex-stepfather Oliver patched things up again and looked for a house in Connecticut, we live for a few months at the Howard Johnson’s in Danbury — a small town in northern Fairfield County about an hour and a half north of the city.  America was a strange place for Robbie and Me (especially once we were off the island of Manhattan) but HoJo’s with good linen, maids and a restaurant loaded with ice cream made us feel at home.  And, they had the world’s first, positively addictive, video game, “Pong” which we played for hours on end.