Motel’s legacy continues

Published 7:21 pm Saturday, August 16, 2014

AHOSKIE – Stealing a line from the late, great Mark Twain, Braxton Smith said the demise of his property in Ahoskie is greatly exaggerated.

Smith, whose family has owned the Tomahawk Motel since July of 1986, said the motel has not been condemned by Town of Ahoskie officials.

“I guess folks simply didn’t read the story in your paper on Thursday; they just saw the headline and assumed it was the motel that was condemned,” said Smith during a Friday phone call to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.

He was referencing the lead story on Thursday’s front page of the RCNH. The headline was, Tomahawk condemned. The article was the latest news to break in a storyline that dates back at least five years as town officials have given the owner (Mohammed Abid) of the old Tomahawk Restaurant property numerous opportunities to either make repairs to the landmark or demolish the building. In July, members of the Ahoskie Town Council gave Abid one final 30-day reprieve to show some viable progress in those repairs or they would take action. That action came on Tuesday of this week when Council condemned the former home of the legendary Tomahawk Restaurant.

“I, along with so many others with an interest in news coming out of Ahoskie, knew that story was in reference to an ongoing issue that town officials had with the property owner of the old Tomahawk Restaurant across the street from my motel,” Smith said. “Sadly we’ve been watching that property slowly deteriorate over the years, but it’s the old restaurant that’s been condemned, not the Tomahawk Motel.”

Smith said his phone started ringing on Thursday with callers curious to find out why the motel was condemned.

“I also had numerous messages on my Facebook page, including one from a former Ahoskie resident now living in Australia,” Smith said. “I kept wondering if those contacting me had read the story or just the headline. I’m not blaming you (the newspaper) for this….your headline was accurate. Perhaps those reading the headline forgot there once was a Tomahawk Restaurant or are too young to recall it being there at one time.”

Smith, whose family lives in Washington, NC, said he has fond memories of that restaurant.

“I remember my dad was on his way to Virginia Beach one day years ago and stopped for lunch at the Tomahawk Restaurant,” he recalled. “By chance, dad asked was there any property for sale in Ahoskie and was told the man who owned the Tomahawk Motel at that time was in the market to sell. Well, that’s the story of how we wound up with the Tomahawk Motel.

“We’ve enjoyed doing business in Ahoskie and we plan to continue,” Smith concluded.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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