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A history of orange roofs and fried clams

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Paula Fick of Garland, Maine (right) kept her 2 year-old grandson, Lincoln, occupied as they waited for their meals at the Howard Johnson’s in Bangor, Maine.Jessica Rinaldi

1925: Howard Deering Johnson takes over a drug store with a soda fountain in Quincy's Wollaston section. Doubles butterfat in ice cream and expands flavors, attracting repeat customers.

1929: Opens first restaurant in downtown Quincy; begins franchising other locations.

1935: Expands during the Great Depression. Johnson lends his name, now made popular by his 28 ice cream flavors, to a restaurant in Orleans in exchange for a fee and an agreement that the owner would buy his food from Johnson.

1940: Reaches 107 restaurants from New England to Florida. Johnson secures a contract to open 24 locations on the new Pennsylvania Turnpike.


1959: Johnson turns the business over to his 26-year-old son, Howard B. Johnson.

1960: The company hires French chef Jacques Pepin to oversee recipe development.

1961: The younger Johnson takes the company public with 605 restaurants, 10 Red Coach Grill restaurants, and 88 motor lodges. Net sales hit $95 million.

1980: Johnson sells the company to Imperial Group, a British conglomerate, for more than $630 million. Sales had dropped from $34 million in 1979 to $14.7 million in 1980.

1985: Imperial sells the company to Marriott, which keeps company-owned restaurants and sells licensed locations and brand name to Prime Motor Inns. Number of HoJo's declines to 50 by 1991.

1990s and 2000s: The group of franchisees tries a new prototype with healthier options, but it fails.

2016: After Bangor location closes Tuesday, only one will remain -- in Lake George, N.Y.

SOURCES: Hojo.com; Reference for Business; "A History of Howard Johnson's: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon," by Anthony Sammarco; the Associated Press.