27 Sep Wigwam Motel, Holbrook, Arizona
The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona is a classic Route 66 destination and a “must see” roadside attraction. Richard and I came through Holbrook in 2012 and just marveled at this place. It hasn’t changed an iota in two years and the same vintage cars were parked out front of the rooms, (they probably don’t run anymore!) along with the cars of real people that were actually staying here. I vowed that next time I do this trip, I am going to spend a night in a teepee. It’s a once in a lifetime experience after all!
This motel is actually part of what was a chain of wigwams and is technically called “Wigwam #6”. Here’s a bit of it’s history from Wikipedia:
“Built in 1950 by Arizona motel owner Chester E. Lewis, the plans were based on the original of Frank A. Redford. Lewis first became aware of the distinctive wigwam designs when he was passing through Cave City in 1938. He purchased the rights to Redford’s design, as well as the right to use the name “Wigwam Village” in a novel royalty agreement: coin operated radios would be installed in Lewis’ Wigwam Village, and every dime inserted for 30 minutes of play would be sent to Redford as payment.
Lewis operated the motel successfully until closing it in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. Two years after his death in 1986, sons Clifton, Paul Lewis and daughter Elinor renovated the motel, finally reopening it in 1988.
Fifteen concrete and steel teepees are arranged as a square with one edge missing where the main office is located. They are numbered from 1 to 16 (there is no teepee 13). The diameter of the base of each teepee is 14 feet (4.3 m), with each unit 32 feet (9.8 m) in height. Behind the main room of each unit is a small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower. Current rooms contain the original restored hickory furniture, two double beds, cable TV and a window mounted air conditioner; there are no telephones or Internet access. Vintage restored automobiles from the 1960‘s and earlier are located throughout the parking area. Small green metal benches etched with the words “Wigwam Village #6” are scattered throughout the complex as well.
The Lewis family continues to run and maintain Wigwam Village #6. Elinor often shows up at 4:00 pm to open the office, and if requested, will fill a small ice bucket (there is no ice machine in keeping with the authenticity of the restoration) for customers. Near the registration desk is a small room which contains many of Chester Lewis’ memorabilia (including a necklace of human teeth of unknown origin).”