Wigwam Motel in Holbrook is an icon of roadside kitsch
HOLBROOK, AZ (Arizona Highways TV) - Just off that highway where you can get your kicks is an icon of roadside kitsch - Wigwam Village Motel #6. In the heart of Holbrook, Arizona, the vacancy sign is a beacon for the pit stop of Americana. The Wigwam Motel opened along the most famous highway in America on June 1, 1950. While the world has kept moving and changing over the years, the Wigwam Motel has not.
With a couple of exceptions, the wigwams are the same as when the place opened. They still have the original handmade hickory furniture but have been upgraded with color TV and cable.
“Most people think they’re concrete, but actually it’s wood construction with tar paper and chicken wire, and then cement on the inside and outside, which has been done by hand,” Eleanor Lewis explained. Her father, Chester Lewis, opened the Wigwam Motel. “Most of our tourists that we get are those who really love the wigwams and who are really interested in old route 66.”
The longest stretch of Route 66 carves its way through Northern Arizona. It was replaced by the interstate highway system and was officially taken off the map in the mid-1980s. But the Wigwam Motel, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, still has that allure of mid-century America, which you can see before you even check in.
“There are 15 wigwams, but they’re numbered 16 because number 13 is a superstitious number, and so we’ve always abided by that because that’s the way my father had it,” Lewis explained. She says her father would be proud that guests can still experience the Wigwam as it was, and she has a specific hope for everyone who stays there.
“I want them to take away a dream that they’ve actually slept in a wigwam, that they’ve had a peaceful night’s rest, that they’re in a small town located on Highway 66 and that they can take a part of that with them.”
In addition to the wigwams, there also is a museum that’s open to the public. According to the National Park Service, it holds Chester Lewis’ collection of American Indian artifacts, Civil War memorabilia, Route 66 collectibles, and a petrified wood collection.
Wigwam Village Motel #6 | 811 W. Hopi Drive, Holbrook
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