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Wigwam Motel

In the arid Arizona desert, the Wigwam Village Motel in Holbrook still provides Route 66 aficionados the opportunity to “Sleep in a Wigwam!”

While passing through Cave City, Kentucky in 1938, Chester E. Lewis was impressed by the distinctive design of the original Wigwam Village constructed in 1937 by architect Frank Redford. An astute observer may notice that the Wigwam Village is not composed of wigwams but of teepees. Mr. Redford, who patented the wigwam village design in 1936, disliked the word ‘teepee’ and used ‘wigwam’ instead.

Fifteen concrete and steel freestanding teepees are arranged in a semi-circle around the main office. The motel office and its surrounding small buildings represent the quarters of the chief and his family.  Each teepee is 21 feet wide at the base and 28 feet high. The teepees are painted white with a red zigzag above the doorway. Rooms feature the original hand-made hickory furniture, and each is equipped with a sink, toilet, and shower. Vintage automobiles are permanently parked throughout the property, including a Studebaker that belonged to Mr. Lewis. In front of the main office were gas pumps that are no longer in place.

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