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Route 66: The Unique Wigwam Motel and its Teepee-Shaped Rooms

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While the pandemic forces most of us to stay quietly at home or in the immediate neighbourhood as the year comes, mercifully, to a close, Auto123 revisits (virtually) some of the memorable spots found along the mythical road known as Route 66. Today, our first stop.

See also: The History of Route 66, the Mother Road of America

In the town of Holbrook, Arizona, a unique motel draws in curious travelers making their way along Route 66. The Wigwam Motel is one of the few remnants of a bygone era, a period that can be relived by spending the night there.

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Ford Econoline Falcon
Photo: D.Rufiange
Ford Econoline Falcon

The Wigwam motels, also known as Wigwam Villages, were part of a chain of establishments that began between the 1930s and 1950s. A total of seven such “villages” were established and frequented by travelers and tourists over the years. The motel located in Holbrook is one of three that have survived and is one of two located on the famous route, the other being in the Rialto/San Bernardino area of California.

At the Holbrook facility, an antique car is parked in front of each of the rooms, adding to the character of the place.

1955 Chevrolet 4100
Photo: D.Rufiange
1955 Chevrolet 4100

While driving through Cave City, Kentucky in the 1940s, Chester E. Lewis spotted the first Wigwam Village, built in 1937 by architect Frank Redford. The quick thinker purchased copies of the plans and agreed with Redford on a form of development fee to be paid. He then built his own Wigwam Village in Holbrook, Arizona. It was completed in 1950, and since the motel was the sixth of its kind, it is simply identified as Village #6.

1930s Dodge tow truck
Photo: D.Rufiange
1930s Dodge tow truck