When Joe and I were planning our big Route 66 trip for last autumn, we had intentions to stay at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ because, well, could you really see us NOT staying at a wigwam motel if we had the opportunity? As it turned out, the Route 66 trip turned into a generalized “American Southwest” trip, with stops in Phoenix, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Disneyland and Hollywood. We think it was a smart decision based on the things we like. However with that itinerary change, no wigwams. Sigh.
BUT! All was not lost!
As it turned out, a friend of mine name Dana had stayed at the Wigwam Motel in Cave City, KY in 2006, and then visited the ones in Holbrook, AZ in 2010 while on her honeymoon, and was more than willing to share her photos!
But before that, a short history…
The Wigwam Motels were actually a chain of seven sites across the country (two in Kentucky and one each in Louisiana, Florida [Orlando, actually – it was built in 1948 and razed in 1973. The property is now the Vacation Lodge at 720 S. Orange Blossom Trail. You can see it from the eastbound 408], Alabama, Arizona and California) called Wigwam Villages that were built between 1933 and 1949. Each village has several wigwam-shaped motel rooms, as well as (depending on which village it was), gas pumps, pool, common center with playground, recreation area and/or restaurant. Only 3 of the sites still exist: Holbrook, AZ, San Bernadino, CA and the oldest one, in Cave City, KY, and all three are on the National Register of Historic Places.
But back to Dana’s visit…
Back in 2006, Dana got to visit Wigwam Village #2 (each village was numbered. Orlando was Wigwam Village #4), in Cave City, KY. She said that the atmosphere of the campgrounds, and the community of the other campers around a campfire made it a nice night. And look at that original bric-a-brac detail on the bathroom tiles!
Fast forward to the year 2010 – Dana and her new husband Tim were on their honeymoon and visited several places in the American Southwest. They didn’t actually stay at the wigwams in Holbrook, AZ – they just made a brief stop there. The office was closed when they arrived but one wigwam was open, so they went inside and took pictures. So if you ever wanted to see them without staying in one, here you go!
The cars are permanent residents of the hotel, by the way. A nice touch, I think. And most of the furniture in both sites are original, which I think is VERY cool.
I’m sorry Joe and I didn’t personally get to stay in the wigwams, although I have absolutely no complaints about what our trip turned into. Maybe sometime in the future we’ll have another chance to visit.
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