Friday, January 30, 2009

The "Municipal House of Pancakes"

Since many of my followers enjoy IHOP, I thought I would do another post. Yes, even the “International House of Pancakes,” has been used as a parody on television. Below is a screen clip from the Simpson’s episode “The Twisted World of Marge Simpson” (here is a link to the episode in its entirety: where the “International House of Pancakes,” is portrayed as the “Municipal House of Pancakes.” I first saw this episode a few years ago, and thought the parody was pretty good. With the power of the internet, I was able to track down the episode and get an image. Enjoy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Vancouver, WA - Railroad Facilities

Below is a low horizon oblique photo of the Burlington Northern rail facility in Vancouver, Washington, taken on July 17, 1982 (click on the picture for a higher resolution image).

The Vancouver, Washington Amtrak station (SP&S heritage) is located inside “a wye," which makes it one of the leading rail-fan locations in the Pacific Northwest. It served trains of the Northern Pacific, Great Northern, Union Pacific and Spokane, Portland & Seattle.

Vancouver is the hub of BNSF operations in the Portland metropolitan area, since the abandonment of Hoyt Street yards in Portland. In 1908, the Northern Pacific bridged the Columbia to allow its trains and those of the new Spokane, Portland & Seattle to reach Portland.

Since 1910, the Northern Pacific main line through Vancouver to Tacoma has also carried the trains of Union Pacific. Over the years, both the Great Northern and Milwaukee Road freights also used the trackage along this route.

The east-west Fallbridge Sub forms the south leg of the wye, with the north-south Seattle main on the west leg. The north leg, the "Middle Lead", passes by the north side of the BNSF Vancouver Yard office.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Howard Johnson's

Howard Johnson, came into the hospitality industry in the 1930’s, and opened his first motor lodge in 1954; however, he came into the industry from the side of a restaurateur with his ice cream stands and restaurants/coffee shops.

At the peak of Howard Johnson’s empire in 1969, he had approximately 500 motels and 1,000 restaurants, as Howard Johnson’s was seen as mid-range (price-wise) motel in terms of place-product-packaging (Jakle, 1996). Howard Johnson was also instrumental in use of architecture (a-frame gate-lodge with cupola, orange roof, etc) of the building and colors as part of the marketing of the product. Horne’s Restaurants (see for pictures due to copyright laws), and International House of Pancakes (IHOP) used the same concept in developing their respective restaurants.

It wasn’t until the mid 1970s until some of the budget chains like Econo-Lodge, Super 8 and Motel 6 became well established (due to the oil embargo and other economic challenges), taking a larger share of the lodging industry from mid-range chains such as Howard Johnson’s and Holiday Inn (to a lesser degree). Also, during this time period, was a change in the marketplace, as the budget conscious traveler was no longer looking for a motel with extra amenities such as coffee shops; as budget motels often offer a free continental breakfast.

Mid-range motels such has Howard Johnson’s and Holiday Inn, also got the squeeze from the other end of the lodging spectrum, in the area of hotels with suites and extended stay facilities (i.e. Homewood Suites, Courtyard by Marriott, etc.), aimed at the longer staying business traveler, offering more amenities geared toward families and business travelers.

As a result of the changes in the lodging industry, and “amenity creep” from the budget motels, new mid-range chains such as Day’s Inn and La Quinta Inns & Suites have come to fill in the void left by Howard Johnson’s, as well as encompassing the suite market. Howard Johnson’s just did not keep up with the changes of the American traveler.

A great website, with pictures of many Howard Johnson's Restaurants and Motor Lodges:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

International House of Pancakes

“International House of Pancakes,” or IHOP, was founded in 1958 by Al and Jerry Lapin. The first restaurant opened on July 7, 1958, in Toluca Lake area of Los Angeles, California.

IHOP borrowed many ideas from Howard Johnson’s Restaurant and Horne’s Restaurant, in terms of place-product-packaging (Jakle, 1996). For an initial investment of $15,000, franchises could buy into a restaurant system symbolized by one of the most readily identifiable building prototypes ever devised for America’s roadsides, a large A-frame structure with turquoise painted roof.

It is a super-sized a-frame structure with a brick chimney, diamond pane windows and the colorized version of a wood shake roof of a typical tract home. The spectacular orange-white-turquoise color scheme is borrowed from Howard Johnson’s. The a-frame buildings were used until 1979 when the last one in that style was built (