Retro Roadtrip: Wigwam Motel Holbrook Arizona

Spring Break we hit the road and traveled a bit of the “Mother road” (Route 66 for those of you new to the hobby!)! One of our favorite stops was at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, AZ!2013-03-25 08.41.17

The Wigwam Motels, also known as the “Wigwam Villages”, was a motel chain in the United States in which the rooms are built in the form of tipis designed by architect Frank Redford. The chain 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.

Noting, the incorrect us of the word “wigwam” –  Mr. Redford, who patented the wigwam village design in 1936, disliked the word ‘teepee’ and used ‘wigwam’ instead. (artistic license?)

wigwam_interiorChester 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.

This purchase, long before the days of the modern franchise,  included a royalty agreement in which Mr. Lewis would install coin operated radios, and every dime inserted for 30 minutes of play would be sent to Mr. Redford as payment.

wigwam_carEach teepee is 21 feet wide at the base and 28 feet high.  Rooms feature the original hand-made hickory furniture, and each is equipped with a sink, toilet, and shower.

Fantastic vintage automobiles are permanently parked throughout the property, including a Studebaker that belonged to Mr. Lewis.

Mr. Lewis successfully operated the motel until Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook in the late-1970s. Mr. Lewis sold the business, and it remained open, but only as a gas station.

Following 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 wigwam_teepeeartifacts, 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. In 2003 and 2007, the motel received Cost-Share Grants from the NPS Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Of the seven original Wigwam Village Motels, two other Wigwam Village Motels survive: #2 in Cave City, Kentucky and #7 in Rialto/San Bernardino, California.

WigWam Motel
811 West Hopi Dr.
Holbrook   AZ   86025


Phone:     (928) 524-3048
(928) 524-9335


 Thanks for all the information from the National Park Service Website.

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