Wigwam Hotel

A Home Away From Home

The Wigwam design was created by Frank A. Redford, eventually his style became so popular that it became a nationwide phenomenon. His designs depicted Native American architecture through the perspective of the American architecture in the mid 20th century. After his first Wigwam opened in Horse Cave, Kentucky in 1933, other architects took interest on his designs and it suddenly became a franchise. There were six other locations that the teepees were built on: Alabama, another city in Kentucky, California, Arizona, Florida, and Louisiana. Frank’s vision was for tourists to feel at the comfort of their home so in addition to the teepees, he added a gas station and a restaurant to ensure the tranquility of his guests. Route 66 and the Mesa Tempe Highway were blossoming highways in the early 1930’s and 1940’s.Route 66 suggested the type of architecture that Apache Boulevard used. Route 66 was a road that many tourists took to escape the farm, mines, and away from the Great Depression in the 1930’s. It was known as the “opportunity road”. The road signs and building architecture told a story about the road and the people that drove down this infamous road like the Mesa Tempe Highway. Whether it was the teepees or the crazy neon signs, both these roads attracted many tourists. Wigwams lasted for a bittersweet while until they were bulldozed down by modern architecture. The blossoming of the interstate highways lead to their destruction in the late 20th century. Like much of roadside architecture, these interstate highways detoured tourists away from the exciting teepees that once stood up almighty, to a faster road that lead them straight to their destination. The old Route 66 that once flourished with tourists in the early 20th century died down and along with it, the Wigwam. The once tall standing Wigwam that lied on Apache Boulevard came down with the expansion of the Arizona State University in 1983 and with this, a modernized America began to sprout. Today, there are only two standing motels left: in Holbrook, Arizona, and in the city boundary between Rialto and San Bernardino, California.

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