FC 87 A History of Howard Johnson’s with Anthony Sammarco

This week on Fieldstone Common our featured guest is Anthony Sammarco, the author of the book A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon.

Bio – Anthony Sammarco

Since 1997, Anthony Sammarco has taught history at the Urban College of Boston, and his course “Boston’s Immigrants” is based on his book of the same name to highlight the city’s diversity. He was named educator of the year in 2003 and he serves on the UCB’s A History of Howard Johnson's with Anthony Sammarco on Fieldstone CommonLeadership Council. Mr. Sammarco received the Bulfinch Award from the Doric Dames of the Massachusetts State House and the Washington Medal from the Freedom Foundation and was named Dorchester town historian by Raymond L. Flynn, mayor of Boston. He was elected a fellow of the Massachusetts Historical Society, is a member of the Boston Author’s Club and is a proprietor of the Boston Athenaeum. In his volunteer work, he is treasurer of the Victorian Society, New England Chapter, and a trustee of the Forest Hills Cemetery Educational Trust. He is past president of the Bay State Historical League and the Dorchester Historical Society. He lives in Boston and in Osterville on Cape Cod.

Book Summary

Howard Johnson created an orange-roofed empire of ice cream stands and restaurants that stretched from Maine to Florida and all the way to the West Coast. Popularly known as the “Father of the Franchise Industry,” Johnson delivered good food and prices that brought appreciative customers back for more. The attractive white Colonial Revival restaurants, with eye-catching porcelain tile roofs, illuminated cupolas and sea blue shutters, were described in Reader’s Digest in 1949 as the epitome of “eating places that look like New England town meeting houses dressed up for Sunday.” Boston historian and author Anthony M. Sammarco recounts how Howard Johnson introduced twenty-eight flavors of ice cream, the “Tendersweet” clam strips, grilled frankforts and a menu of delicious and traditional foods that families eagerly enjoyed when they traveled.

Publication Info

Title: A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon

Publisher: The History Press (2013)

Paperback; 157 pages  with a bibliography, index and lots of photos.

A History of Howard Johnson’s: How a Massachusetts Soda Fountain Became an American Icon is available for purchase from Amazon.com and other booksellers.

The Interview

In this interview Anthony and I discuss Howard Johnson, the man, who built an incredible business empire of restaurants and hotels that originated in the Boston area. We also talk about some very surprising cameo appearances by Jacques Pepin, Pierre Franey and the House of Dior. We start with the rise of Howard Johson’s as an ice cream stand to its demise in 1979 when it was sold out of the family. You will be surprised by the history you hear in this story!

Prize Winner

One copy of A History of Howard Johnson’s is given out to the Fieldstone Common audience courtesy of The History Press.

The winner is:

  • To be announced next week

Congratulations to our winner and thanks to The History Press for their generosity in donating the book!

Make sure you qualify to win the giveaway next week by signing up for the Bonus List! Once you sign up your are in the running each week!

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Question: What’s that’s new stuff in the Fieldstone Common title (FC 87)?

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