Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Wigwam Motel #7

Map 2728 W Foothill Blvd, Rialto, California 92376

Wigwam Motel #7
Wigwam Motel #7

Most recently parodied in Pixar's movie, Cars, as the Cozy Cone Motel the Wigwam Motel in Rialto, California is one of seven Wigwam Motels originally built. Three of the original seven still remain: the one in Rialto, one in Holbrook, Arizona, and one in Cave City, Kentucky. The California and Arizona motels both lie on Historic Route 66.

From 1933 to 1935 in Kentucky, Frank Redford built his first teepee-shaped cabins near Horse Cave, Kentucky and called it the Wigwam Village. Redford supposedly drew the concept for the Wigwam from a tepee-shaped building in Long Beach, California. It is suspected that the building he saw was the TeePee Barbecue which was sadly demolished in 1950. Rumor has it that Redford first owned a teepee shaped ice cream stand, then in 1933 build a gas station with a teepee shaped office and food stand. By 1935 he had added the six matching thirty foot cabins. In 1936 he obtained a patent on the concept for the exterior design and in 1937 built his second village in Cave City, Kentucky (one of the three remaining villages). By 1950, there were seven such villages, the last one being built in 1949 in Rialto, California.

Wigwam Motel 7

Like the first two Wigwam Villages, #7 was also built by Frank Redford, the other four were franchised to other owners for one half of one percent of the total profits. Wigwam Motel #7 consists of nineteen thirty foot wigwams, a BBQ area, and a swimming pool. The wigwams are scattered around the larger lobby wigwam. In other villages, such as Wigwam Village #2, the wigwams are arranged in a semi-circle around the much larger lobby wigwam. Wigwams generally had a rolled up flap design, with diamond shaped windows, a zigzag design drawn across the middle of the walls, and even poles sticking out of the top.

The original Wigwam Village in Horse Cave, Kentucky was demolished in 1981. #3 in New Orleans, #4 in Orlando, and #5 in Birmingham have all also sadly been demolished.

A Wigwam runs from $60 to $80 a night depending on if it is a weekday, weekend, and holiday.

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Last Edited: 2007-01-21