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Wigwam Village #6
|Location:||811 West Hopi Drive, Holbrook, Arizona 86025|
|Architect:||Frank Redford, Chester Evert Lewis|
|MPS:||Historic US Route 66 in Arizona MPS|
|NRHP Reference#:||02000419 |
|Added to NRHP:||May 02, 2002|
The Wigwam Motels, also known as the "Wigwam Villages", is a motel chain in the United States in which the rooms are built in the form of tipis, mistakenly referred to as wigwams. It originally had seven different locations: two locations in Kentucky, a location in Alabama, another location in Florida, one in Arizona, one in Louisiana, and another one in California. They are very distinctive historic landmarks. Two of the three surviving motels are located on historic U.S. Route 66, in Holbrook, Arizona and on the city boundary between Rialto and San Bernardino, California. Wigwam Motel #2, in Cave City, Kentucky was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 16, 1988 under the official designation of Wigwam Village #2. Wigwam Village #6 was listed on May 2, 2002.
Frank A. Redford applied for a patent on the ornamental design of the building on December 17, 1935, and was granted design patent 98,617 on February 18, 1936. The original drawing includes the swastika, at the time a symbol associated with native Americans or often worn as a good-luck charm. Seven Wigwam Villages were built between 1933 and 1949.
Wigwam villages 
Wigwam Village #1: Horse Cave, Kentucky 
Built in 1933 by Frank A. Redford; the central building and gas pumps are visible on undated postcards. Six more wigwams were built to be used as guest rooms. Reportedly closed in 1935 when the nearby Wigwam Village #2 was opened, this wigwam village was razed in 1982. It was located on the corner of US-31E and Hwy 218 in Horse Cave, Kentucky.
Wigwam village #2: Cave City, Kentucky 
Wigwam village #2 was built in 1937 a few miles south of the original wigwam village #1, but on US-31W in Cave City. It was built consisting of 15 wigwams used as guest rooms and a much bigger concrete and steel central structure that originally served as a restaurant. The 15 wigwams are arranged in a semi circle around a common area with playground and recreation area. Each wigwam has a paved pad to accommodate one car.
The diameter at the base of each tipi is 14 feet (4.3 m), they are 32 feet (9.8 m) in height. Behind the main room of each unit is a small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower. In 2008, the rooms contain the original restored hickory furniture, cable TV and a window mounted air conditioner. There are no telephones to maintain the original atmosphere of the motel, though there is internet access. The restaurant is no longer in operation, but the motel is still open and welcoming guests.
Wigwam village #3: New Orleans, Louisiana 
Built in 1940, near U.S. highway 61, this wigwam village was lost after it went out of business in 1954. It was located on U.S. highway 61 in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans.
Wigwam village #4: Orlando, Florida 
Wigwam village #4 was built in 1948. This relatively large wigwam village consisted of 27 or 31 guest rooms each in a separate wigwam constructed to resemble a horseshoe. A restaurant was built into the central and larger wigwam and more services were available, including a pool located in the middle of the lot. It was nicknamed and also self-proclaimed "Orlando's Largest Motel". Wigwam village #4 was razed in 1974. It was located near US Highways 441, 17 and 92, Orlando, Florida. A 326 room Vacation Lodge now sits on the site, apparently still using the former motel's swimming pool.
Wigwam village #5: Bessemer, Alabama 
The Wigwam Village #5 was built in 1940. It village consisted of 15 wigwams arranged in a semicircle, surrounding the much larger wigwam and two smaller ones, which served as offices and a restaurant. This wigwam village and cafe fell into ruin after it went out of business in 1964. It was demolished soon afterwards. It was located 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Downtown Bessemer, on US Highway 11, Bessemer, Alabama.
Wigwam village #6: Holbrook, Arizona 
Built in 1950 by Arizona motel owner Chester E. Lewis, the plans were based on the original of Frank A. Redford. Lewis first became aware of the distinctive wigwam designs when he was passing through Cave City in 1938. He purchased the rights to Redford's design, as well as the right to use the name "Wigwam Village" in a novel royalty agreement: coin operated radios would be installed in Lewis' Wigwam Village, and every dime inserted for 30 minutes of play would be sent to Redford as payment.
Lewis operated the motel successfully until closing it in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. Two years after his death in 1986, sons Clifton, Paul Lewis and daughter Elinor renovated the motel, finally reopening it in 1988.
Fifteen concrete and steel tipis are arranged as a square with one edge missing where the main office is located. They are numbered from 1 to 16 (there is no teepee 13). The diameter of the base of each tipi is 14 feet (4.3 m), with each unit 32 feet (9.8 m) in height. Behind the main room of each unit is a small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower. Current rooms contain the original restored hickory furniture, two double beds, cable TV and a window mounted air conditioner; there are no telephones or Internet access. Vintage restored automobiles from the 1960s and earlier are located throughout the parking area. Small green metal benches etched with the words "Wigwam Village #6" are scattered throughout the complex as well.
The Lewis family continues to run and maintain Wigwam Village #6. Elinor often shows up at 4:00 pm to open the office, and if requested, will fill a small ice bucket (there is no ice machine in keeping with the authenticity of the restoration) for customers. Near the registration desk is a small room which contains many of Chester Lewis' memorabilia (including a necklace of human teeth of unknown origin).
Wigwam village #7: Rialto/San Bernardino, California 
Frank Redford built this one for himself in 1947–49 and not as a franchise of the Holbrook, Arizona property. There is a central building that is currently used as an office and has a very spacious lobby inside. The lobby is open 24 hours a day for all travelers. There is not one arch of wigwams as with the other surviving villages, but a double row of wigwam guest rooms totaling 19. There is also a swimming pool, large grass front with over 35 palm trees surrounding then entire property as well as a base for what seems to be another never completed wigwam in the back of the property. Wigwam Village #7 is considered by many travelers to be the most famous and well kept property of them all, since the Patel family continuously maintains Mr. Redford's beloved Wigwam Village #7 and to cater to modern travelers on the historic 66 road.
The motel was for a while very run down and rooms were rented by the hour, aggravated by the sign "do it in a tipi" that is still on site in the back.
Renovated in the last few years intensely by the Patel Family whom were awarded the National Historic Route 66 Federation's 2005 Cyrus Avery Award for their efforts in restoration. Attention to detail was the main focus during renovation, as the Wigwams lost their zigzag pattern. Restoration restored the reputation and confidence back to the travelers.
The address of the motel is in Rialto, but the motel is inside San Bernardino. It is on the boundary between the two cities on Historic Route 66, 2728 West Foothill Boulevard, Rialto, California.
Other wigwam like motels 
The Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, Texas near Houston, which was built in 1942, is a setup where the tipis are of a different shapes and all line up in a straight line. It is not of the same design nor heritage as the Wigwam Motels.
Wharton's Tee Pee Motel had been in disrepair for decades. Then, in July 2003, Bryon Woods, a diesel mechanic, won the Texas Lottery. At his wife's urging, Woods bought the property. Modern conveniences were added, and the Tee Pee Motel reopened for business in October 2006. In March 2012 the motel was the site of a large drugs seizure.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Wigwam Motel by AreaG2". AreaG2, Inc. Retrieved 2008-12-25.
- "Wigwam Village No.2, Cave City, Kentucky". Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- Naomi Lewin. "Sleep in a Wigwam!". savvytraveler.publicradio.org. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "U.S. Design Patent 98,617 (February 18, 1936) (enter D98,617 to retrieve patent)". Retrieved 2008-09-11.
- Joseph Baneth Allen. "A Teepee Tradition". American Profile. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- Ron Warnick. "TV ad denigrates Wigwam motels". Route 66 News.
- GARY WARNER (March 16, 2012). "A day trip on the Mother Road". Orange County Register.
- Green, Gerald (2007-05-26). "66 Makeover Project to be Former Motel". Clinton Daily News (Clinton, OK). Retrieved 22 November 2008. "Two Avery Award winners are expected, including ... the Patel Family, 2005, for the restoration of the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, Calif."
- Piotrowski, Scott (2005-09-17). "Rendezvous Underway". Pasadena, CA: 66 Productions. Retrieved 22 November 2008. "Congratulations go out to ... the Patel family, owners of the Wigwam Motel in San Bernardino, for winning the 2005 Avery Award for Preservation"
- BRIAN ROKOS (25 August 2011). "Iconic motel seeks National Register status". Press-Enterprise.
- Johnny Stucco. "Little Tee Pee(s) on the Prairie". TexasEscapes.com. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "My teepee or yours?". Associated Press NBCnews.com. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- "Texas Tee Pee Motel Restoration Underway". Roadside America.com. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- Allison Miles. "Wharton's Tee Pee Motel is throw-back to bygone era". Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- John Nova Lomax. "Crime Tee Pee Motel: Kitschy Wharton Landmark Scene of March Drug Bust". Houston Press, Hairballs Blog. Retrieved 2012-07-17.
- Levinger, Larry. "Wigwam Motel: get your kitsch. Via - AAA Magazine (May 2001)
- Roadside Giants by Brian Butko, ISBN 0-8117-3228-2 (October 2005)
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