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The Boston Globe


The story behind Howard Johnson’s, a New England icon

Excerpted from “A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon,” by Anthony Mitchell Sammarco to be published by The History Press on Aug.13.

In the mid 1920’s Howard Johnson began producing a rich, creamy ice cream that had a doubled butterfat and was flavored with all natural ingredients with the important fact that the quality and taste of the ice cream never varied. This 28 flavors of ice cream brought a steady stream of loyal customers to the store, which was later augmented by grilled frankforts and fried clams. His ice cream stand on Wollaston Beach in Quincy, a small stand attached to a house which he leased for $300.00 for the summer, proved so successful that the next summer he was able to open an ice cream stand at Nantasket Beach in Hull, Massachusetts and at Revere Beach in Revere, Massachusetts. It was said that Howard Johnson “sold $60,000 worth of ice-cream cones that [first] summer — 14,000 cones on one Sunday — and there’s good reason to suppose that when the summer visitors went home they kept up the argument about the flavors” and thus a word of mouth publicity spread compliments on his business.

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