The Avalon Motel is a quiet little place these days, and that’s how owners Tom and Manjula Khushal like it. I stopped by to take photos of the sign perched atop a rusted water tower this morning and drew the wary eye of Manjula, who was cleaning a room.
She held out her hands as if to say, “What do you want?”
“Are you the manager?” I asked.
“My husband,” she said simply, and walked into one of the motel rooms.
Out came Tom Khashula, a short, round, good-natured guy with a friendly smile and handshake.
Natives of India, the Khushals moved to Fort Worth in 1985, began managing the motel, and bought it 10 years later. It sits beside a McDonald’s near the intersection of River Oaks Boulevard at 2242 Jacksboro Highway.
“A lot of people come here to take a picture,” he said. “A lot of old men come here and tell me the history of the place.”
The motel and the adjacent Avalon Club (now gone) were rowdy places back in the 1940s.
Local historian and author Ann Arnold wrote in “Gamblers & Gangsters: Fort Worth’s Jacksboro Highway in the 1940s & 1950s” that the Avalon Motel and Avalon Club were owned by a shady character named Asher Rone, a gambler whose “rap sheet extended at least as far back as the 1930s.”
Those days are gone. The Khushals live on site and don’t tolerate mischief.
The tower once supplied water to the motel. Now the motel uses city water, and the tower is just a reminder of days past. Tom Khushal loves the tower sign and even climbed up there himself and painted the letters yellow some years back.
And, yes, he’s had offers.
“It’s antique,” he said. “A lot of people want to buy it but I don’t want to sell it. I’ve lived here since 1987. This is my home.”
Previous entries in the Jacksboro Highway sign series: