Wigwam Villages on Route 66 (2024)

Frank A. Redford developed the Wigwam Village concept after adding tipi-shaped motel units around a museum-shop he had built to house his collection of Native American artifacts.

Wigwam Village #1 was built in 1933 by Mr. Redford, and was located on the corner of US-31E and Hwy 218 in Horse Cave, Kentucky.

Wigwam Village #2 is located on U.S. Route 31W in Cave City, Kentucky, close to Mammoth Cave National Park and a few miles south of the original Wigwam Village #1. The address is 601 North Dixie Hwy, Cave City, Kentucky. It consists of 15 wigwams used as guest rooms that are arranged in a semicircle. In the center is a much bigger concrete and steel central structure that originally served as a restaurant, plus a common area with playground, recreation space, and pavilion. The Village remains open today.

For more information, visit the website of Wigwam Village Inn #2

A total of seven Wigwam Villages were constructed between 1936 and the 1950s. After Wigwam Village #2 was completed in 1937 in Cave City, five more were built over time:

  • #3 - New Orleans, Louisiana - Built in 1940 on U.S. Highway 61 in suburban Metairie. Closed in 1954.
  • #4 - Orlando, Florida - Built in 1948 at 700 S. Orange Blossom Trail, and featured 27 tipis. It was razed in 1974.
  • #5 - Bessemer, Alabama - Located north of downtown on U.S. Highway 11. It featured 15 tipis. Closed in 1964.
  • #6 - Holbrook, Arizona
  • #7 - Rialto / San Bernardino, California
Village #1
Horse Cave, KY
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Village #2
Cave City, KY
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Village #4
Orlando, FL
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Wigwam Village #6

Located at 811 West Hopi Drive in Holbrook, Arizona is one of the three remaining Wigwam Villages.

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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. Mr. Lewis purchased copies of the plans and the right to use the Wigwam Village name.

Finished in 1950, Mr. Lewis’ village in Holbrook was the sixth village built, thus its designation as Wigwam Village #6.

Fifteen concrete and steel freestanding teepees are arranged in a semi-circle around the main office. The motel office and its surrounding small buildings were the quarters of the owners. Each teepee is 21 feet wide at the base and 28 feet high, and are painted white with a red zigzag above the doorway. In front of the main office were gas pumps that are no longer in place.

While there were a total of 15 units, Mr. Lewis felt that the number "13" was superstitious, so there is no teepee #13, and the last unit is numbered 16.

Mr. Lewis successfully operated the motel until Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook in the late 1970s. He sold the business, and it remained open, but only to sell gas. Two years after Mr. Lewis’ death, his wife and grown children re-purchased the property and reopened the motel in 1988. They removed the gas pumps and converted part of the main office into a museum, which is open to the public. The museum holds Mr. Lewis’ own collection of Indian artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, Route 66 collectibles, and a petrified wood collection. Wigwam Village Motel #6 was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

Today, each teepee has a private bathroom with toilet and shower, a television, air conditioner and original hand-made hickory furniture. Vintage automobiles are permanently parked throughout the property, including a Studebaker that belonged to Mr. Lewis. It continues to be operated by the Lewis family, and you can "sleep in a wigwam".

Official Wigwam Motel website or phone 928.524.3048

Read more about the history of Wigwam Village at the National Park Service (NPS)

Vintage view of the Wigwam Village No. 6, 800 W. Hopi Drive, on U.S. 66, Holbrook, Arizona ... Phone 310
Wigwam Villages on Route 66 (6)

Present day views of the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona
"Have You Slept in a Wigwam Lately?"

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Wigwam Motel #7

Driving down Route 66, this San Bernardino motel immediately grabs your attention with its one-of-a-kind roadside architecture.

In 1933 Frank Redford started developing the Wigwam “Villages” by designing teepee (tipi) shaped motel units. This was the last of seven Wigwam Motels built across the country; only three survive today. The others are located in Holbrook AZ and Cave City KY.

This one was opened in 1949, and remains open today at 2728 E. Foothill Boulevard, and welcomes travelers to "sleep in a teepee".

This motels remains a unique and whimsical accommodation option with modern tee-pee guest rooms and first-class amenities. The property features free WiFi, a free parking, tea and coffee in the lobby, a refreshing outdoor pool, an around-the-clock front desk, non-smoking rooms, pet-friendly rooms, daily housekeeping and an on-site gift shop.

Website of the Wigwam Motel or phone 909.875.3005

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Wigwam Villages on Route 66 (2024)
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