‘On the Third day of Christmas, Route 66 gave to me…’

 Arizona, Daily  Comments Off on ‘On the Third day of Christmas, Route 66 gave to me…’
Dec 142011

The Globetrotter Lodge in Holbrook AZ…

This is a place that (for me) has come out of the woodwork in the last year!

The ‘Austrian Family’ (as they are known!) purchased this motel not too long ago, and have worked on it ever since! I was in Holbrook a few months ago touring the town and saw them outside working on the grounds sprucing it up! Not to mention, they have a HUGE painted Route 66 shield which I believe all guest can sign with a magic marker – something you do not see very often!

Holbrook is really known for the Wigwam Motel – and literally a few block down the road is the Globetrotter Lodge. The work that had gone into the rooms at the Globetrotter are amazing! I am happy to see they are really trying to bring this place back to a standard not seen in Holbrook, and their rankings on Trip Advisor show whatever they are doing – it is working!

Holbrook is going to go through some big changes over the next few years. The discovery of ‘Pot Ash’ will bring all kinds of industry and factories to the area, BUT this means ‘out with the old, and in with the new…’ and I was told serveral historic Route 66 restaurants, motels, and gas stations are in the path of the bulldozer. This will change the town dynamics considerably, but as long as we have places like the Globetrotter Lodge – welcoming not only Route 66 travelers, but getting ready for future vistors – we know the town of Holbrook will be OK…

Visit them on their website by clicking HERE, or join them on Facebook by clicking HERE.

I mentioned before my work will take me to Joseph City AZ over the next year – and while I am up there – I will make sure I stay at the Globetrotter as many times as I can – and of course, I will let you know how it goes!

Wigwam Motel gets makeover

 California, Daily  Comments Off on Wigwam Motel gets makeover
Aug 102011

SAN BERNARDINO – Have you slept in a teepee lately?
Kumar Patel thinks more people should experience Americana from one of the last remaining Wigwam motels in the country.

The historic motel has a team of painters working to restore San Bernardino’s Wigwam Motel, 2728 Foothill Blvd., along the old Route 66, to its original external color scheme as part of its application to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Patel said.

“We hope to have this completed by the start of the (Stater Bros. 22nd annual) Route 66 celebration (on Sept. 15),” Patel said.

The 20-unit Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino was built in 1949 and was the last of seven built by Frank A. Redford, said Patel, the motel’s manager.

The concept was inspired by a popular ice cream shop shaped like an upside down cone and teepees he had seen while visiting a Sioux reservation in South Dakota.

His first motel was in Horse Cave, Ken., in 1935. And the second followed in 1937 in Cave City, Ken. Over time others were built in Alabama, Florida, New Orleans and Arizona.

The only other remaining Wigwam motels are in Holbrook, Ariz., and Cave City.

Patel said that the Holbrook location was the only franchised property and the franchise fee was the coins from the guests who put coins into the “magic fingers” slot beneath their bed.

Many guests at the San Bernardino site, Patel said, are from other countries, particularly Australia, Holland and England.

“They believe staying in a teepee should be part of their American experience,” he said.

Guests are often enthusiastic about Route 66 and everything connected with it, Patel said.

“Many foreigners are astounded that you can drive 2,000 miles and still be in the same country,” said Patel, who has immersed himself in Route 66 lore since his family bought the Wigwam Motel in 2003.

Coming from the east, the Wigwam Motel is near the end of the historic route, Santa Monica. Driving time for the 78 miles from the motel to Santa Monica, is about five hours – longer than most people think, Patel said.

On Wednesday, workers were scraping off the brown paint on the motel’s 20 teepees. Eventually all will be a white/cream color.

The original red zig-zag lines around the cones and red trim on the windows will also be restored, as will the yellow paint on the three poles protruding from each building.

The poles are actually heat vents that extend deep within the structure.

For a time, Redford lived in San Bernardino’s unit No.1, where he built an firepit, which is still there.

Later he moved into another unit and built an office area in the front. And that’s the office today.

The rooms have modern touches, flatscreen televisions and large refrigerators.

Patel said Wigwam Motel guests are often walk-ins, people stopping in on their cruise of the historic Mother Road.

And the walk-in room rate is $66 – a natural fit.

At a glance
Wigwam Motel

Began in 1935 and grew to seven locations, including San Bernardino.
Only two others remain: one in Kentucky and one in Arizona.
The San Bernardino motel owners have applied for registry as a historic place

Contra Costa Times – Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer

Arizona Getaway: Take a step back to the 50s on Route 66

 Daily  Comments Off on Arizona Getaway: Take a step back to the 50s on Route 66
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