May 062011

Whether you’re a native or new to Arizona, you already know we live in a beautiful and fascinating state.

If you’re looking for a uniquely 50s experience, make the Wigwam Motel one of the stops on your Arizona travels.

This Holbrook treasure was one of seven Wigwam Villages built along Route 66 across the U.S. from the 1930s to the 1950s.

According to the motel’s website, Chester E. Lewis had other motels along Route 66 in other Arizona cities in the 1930s. He saw his first Wigwam Village in Cave City, Kentucky in 1938 and decided he wanted one of his own. Franchises were not known of at the time, so Lewis and the owner of the Kentucky Wigwam Villages, Frank Redford, worked out an arrangement where radios would be placed in each wigwam that would play music for a half hour for a dime. Redford would receive the dimes for a period of years in payment for the use of his plans.

Arizona’s Wigwam Village was built in 1950 and closed in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. Lewis died in 1986 and the family renovated the property, reopening it in 1988.

The Wigwam Motel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

The 15 concrete and steel “wigwams” contain the original restored hickory furniture, cable TV and a window mounted air conditioner. A small bathroom is located behind the main room of each unit, outfitted with a sink, toilet and shower. There are no telephones or Internet access. The wigwams have a diameter of 14 feet at the base and a height of 32 feet. Guests will find restored automobiles from the 1960s and earlier located throughout the parking area. The cars have been named for the characters in the Disney movie “Cars,” which features the Cozy Cone Motel, fashioned after the Wigwam Motel.

Wigwams with two double beds run $58 plus tax and a wigwam with one double bed goes for $52 plus tax.

Lewis’s daughter Elinor still runs Wigwam Village #6. She says she loves seeing the expression on the faces of children when they first get a look at the wigwams, that parents often make the visit a big surprise. Elinor says some parents tell her they passed the motel in the 50s and are now bringing their kids to stay.

Isn’t it time you created your own family tradition with a stay at Arizona’s own Wigwam Motel?

Wigwam Motel
811 West Hopi Drive
Holbrook, Arizona 86025

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