This is more of a stop ON the road...
It is known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America, and of course, The Mother Road. Whatever you like to call it, no great American road trip could ever be fully realized without a stop on America's famed Route 66. It cannot be found on any common map and the original route between Chicago and L.A. no longer exists, though broken pieces of it can still be traveled.
The highway of dreams has enticed wanderers, travelers, explorers since 1926. During the golden age of American road travel—the 1950s—pushing westward from the industrial Midwest to sunny California was a prestigious endeavor, and Route 66 was the prestigious route to take to travel to and fro.
We’ve found ourselves on it a couple of times this year, but at no point thus far have we had the opportunity to drink in all of the photogenic kitsch that comes along with this dose of Americana than in Holbrook, Arizona (just outside of Petrified Forest National Park) at the Wigwam Motel.
As I understand it, the original Wigwam Village was designed by architect Frank Redford and built in Cave City, Kentucky (where nearby you can visit Mammoth Cave National Park) in 1937. While the design was to mimic native American teepees, Redford was not a fan of the word so he called them “Wigwams.” A developer passing through soon after it was built bought rights to the design and fashioned six additional Wigwam Villages, totaling seven.
This location is one of only three still in existence (one other in aforementioned Kentucky; and one in California.) Not surprisingly, location #7 is on the National Register of Historic Places ... and it looks every bit the part. Vintage cars parked in the lot outside are a nod to its vintage past, providing a backdrop that feels more like you are on a movie set than at an operating motel. But it is still in business—the rooms can be rented by the night and true to original form, there is no wifi, cable TV, or telephone service (a trait we are finding to be quite common while on the road this year.)
Two of America’s very different wonders just stones throw from one another… not bad, AZ.