A relic of autocamping – replete with vintage cars rusting in the parking lot – that we found in Holbrook, AZ (gateway to Petrified Forest National Park). This Wigwam Village Motel was the sixth of seven such bizarro encampments along Route 66 and 31, built by Chester E. Lewis (replicating the Cave City, KY design of architect Frank Redford). Lewis purchased the plans for the misnomer motel alongside a royalty agreement that required coin-operated radios in every room with Redford reaping the revenue (in dimes; ten cents for 30 minutes of music).
These days, the teepees feel like a time warp, eerie in their nostalgia. We peaked inside a room, at the original hickory furniture and southwestern throws. And inside the antique automobiles with their tattered upholstery and unwieldy steering wheels. The motel partially closed in the late 1970s, in the wake of Interstate 40 bypassing downtown Holbrook and Lewis selling the business. Two years after Lewis’ death, his widow and children bought back the property and reopened. In 2002, the motel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lewis’ Studebaker is still parked out front, ogling the open road.