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Wigwam Village: 1940

Wigwam Village: 1940

July 1940. "Cabins imitating the Indian teepee for tourists along highway south of Bardstown, Kentucky. (Wigwam Village #2, Cave City)." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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Tempe Teepees

I went to school at Arizona State University in Tempe in the late 1970s. On the edge of campus along Apache Blvd near the corner of Rural Road there were 5 or 6 cabins just like this. They tore them down about 1979 to build a bank.

Little Girl's Memory

I remember being about 4 or 5 years old and I absolutely loved it when my parents stayed at the Wigwam in Orlando. A memory that is dear to my heart!

Local Humor

Passed this place many years ago going to look at property in the Wharton area. We asked the realtor about it and he said that the joke at the high school was, "A girl is always safe to go to the Wigwam with a boy--she can't get cornered!"

Wigwams in Cave City, KY

We stayed in the Wigwams at Cave City, KY, last year. We loved the adventure of it!!

Last of the line

The last of the Wigwam Motels was Number 7, which was built in 1949. It also still stands on Route 66 in San Bernardino, California. This one gets four stars (Serta Perfect Sleeper beds!) and is rated the most popular of 27 hotels in town. It also has the distinction of having been in two different towns as the postal zones switched back and forth between San Bernardino and Rialto.


Though the style itself is totally familiar to me, Dave's application (in the comment-comment below) of the term "Googie" to this kind of architecture came as news to me, I'm astounded and ashamed to admit. Further research reveals that the origin of the term involves our old friend Julius Shulman.

Texas Teepees

A similar motel, the Tee Pee, is still on old Highway 59 coming into Wharton, Texas (southwest of Houston). It was built in 1941 or 1942, and when I last drove past the place this past Christmas, it did my heart good to see that it was still standing.

Still can stay in one of these

There are a couple left. One for sure in Holbrook, AZ that was the basis for the Pixar movie 'Cars'. Holbrook is worth a stop for a bit of Route 66 flavor like Joe and Aggie's Cafe and the now deserted Bucket of Blood St.

[I've stopped at the Wigwam in Holbrook, and eaten at the circa 1960 Plainsman restaurant. The town is worth a visit. Lots of googie architecture. - Dave]

I stayed in those a few years ago!

I understand there are only a few of these wigwam hotels remaining; my wife and I stayed in one a few years ago when touring Mammoth Caves. It was very quaint. We also went by one in Arizona when visiting there. True bits of Americana. Here is a picture of what this park looks like today.

One of Many

Mesa, AZ used to have its own version of the "Wigwam Motel" along a street naturally named Apache (the old highway). There is another in Holbrook on historic Route 66.

Apparently these were more popular than we remember.

Talk about high ceilings!

I wonder if the room had a ceiling all the way to the tip top of the teepee, or if the imitation was only skin deep.

Still around

I think my family drove past this when I was young.

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From the back seat

Driving cross-country in the 1950s, my parents and I passed this place. I begged, I bargained, and I whined so that we could stay the night in a tepee. I used every weapon in my six-year-old arsenal. All to no avail. Alas, here's the image of my unfulfilled wish never to be realized. This is such a great place -- what was wrong with parents? Guess a lack of Route 66 taste.


that it's STILL THERE! Even the original sign still stands, but now only says "Sleep in a Wigwam." The diner in the big one serves grits no more.

Holy Smokes!

Still standing.

Get a Wigwam!

PDA couples used to hear that a lot in Bardstown.

Is the cement dry yet?

Could these have been built by the concrete tribe, who were thought to have disappeared. I often wondered how these "wigwams" were transported around, must have been some powerful horses. Pretty spiffy looking guy heading to the EAT wigwam.

Sleep in a wigwam!

One of these motels still existed when our family arrived in Orlando in 1968. It fascinated me then, it still does now, even though it's long gone.

We stayed there a few years back

And you still can, too. It's awfully nifty. We took the kids. The big teepee used to be the diner but now it serves as a front desk and gift shop. I believe their website has historic photos and the history of the Wigwam Village national chain.

Any roadside history lovin' visitor to Mammoth Cave must stay there at least once.

One star

Still there!

That is just one of several Wigwam Villages built, and it's still there:

The registration for the official Wigwam Village Web site expired last week (03/04/10), and is awaiting renewal or deletion, according to Network Solutions.

There's another one in Holbrook, Arizona, on Route 66:

Cozy Cone

My mom-to-a-kindergartener mind went immediately to Sally's motel in the movie "Cars."

Please tell me they didn't

have gas attendants wearing feathered headdresses who walked up to your car and said something like "How! Paleface want'um fill-up with regular?"

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