TEWKSBURY — A strip of molding is peeling off the wood-paneled walls of Room 251 at the Motel Caswell, and there’s a small hole in the wall that won’t be repaired.
The bed has been made for the last time, but those in neighboring rooms are stripped, with red and green paisley comforters lying in heaps on the pavement just beyond the door.
Outside, owner Russ Caswell and his son Jay are clearing out nearby rooms, removing televisions, but leaving most of the furniture for the wrecking ball.
The Motel Caswell, which has been owned by the Caswell family for nearly 60 years, hosted its last guests Sunday night.
It’s set to be demolished next month to make way for an entertainment complex, marking the end of an era on this stretch of Route 38.
“It’s a big change. I guess you’d call it a lot of mixed feelings,” Caswell said.
The motel was the site of a seizure attempt by the federal government under drug-forfeiture laws, which Caswell fought and won in 2013. But before it became known for a number of closed-door drug deals and prostitution stings, the Motel Caswell was a family business, the place where a teenage Caswell started his working life.
I’m here today….(pulling it together…dusty in here.)…excuse me (clearing throat)…I’m here today to celebrate the life of the Motel Caswell. To many, the Caswell was an old, “past it’s time” motel in a location that nobody in their right mind would ever stop or even let their car idle, let alone spend the night. To the town of Tewksbury, the property was an embarrassing blight on their “magnificent mile” of nail salons, and roast beef joints…preventing big ticket industry like bowling alley’s, and batting cages from turning the place into Dubai. But to those of us gathered here today, the Caswell was our friend. A loyal friend. A friend that was always there for us when you were at your lowest. When you needed a cozy, judgement free bed to sleep off the eleven lunchtime Jade East Mai Tai’s before doing your afternoon school bus route, the Caswell was there. When you needed a meth lab in a pinch, the Caswell was there. When your wife’s restraining order was about to expire, and you had nothing romantic planned…heart shaped tubs…all you can handle. The Caswell was there. A man on a plane once said to me, “If you’ve been to 2 Hilton’s, you’ve been to them all.” Well sir, nobody will ever say that about the Caswell. Wallet friendly rates, maid service, drive-thru hookers…real keys. The Caswell was there.
(Dusty again…clearing throat.)
The Caswell was there.