Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: Wigwam Drive By, Rialto, CA, 1957
Cement tepee-shaped motel rooms seen from a rolled-down driver’s side window glisten in the rain-soaked sky blue blacktop.
This is not any ol’ motel. Oh no! Wigwam Village is Southern California’s most precious and famous Route 66 landmark.
Built in 1950, it was the last in the chain of eight Wigwam Motels. Miraculously this and two of the other locations, Cave Creek, Kentucky, and Holbrook, Arizona, are still standing in all their Americana glory for us to cherish (and stay in) today.
Thanks in part to the Disney movie “Cars” they are enjoying a well deserved revival in popularity. What have we all been waiting for? They’re adorable!!!
In the ‘70s I can remember driving past the Rialto Wigwam Motel when the slogan beneath the sign said “Do it in a Tepee!”
A few years ago I spent my first night in a wigwam in Holbrook, Arizona. I walked in my room, um wigwam, and immediately felt an unexplainable mystical magical force field of pure Americana energy like I’d never experienced before (and no, I hadn’t been smokin’ anything!) There is something powerful about standing, sitting, showering and laying down inside one these icons of the Americana roadside.
You haven’t really lived the Americana dream until you too have spent a night in a wigwam. Whatever you “Do in a Tepee,” do something! Your imagination will be inspired and your spirit will soar!
Here’s to all Wigwam Motels and YOU!
April 7th, 2010
Live Events with Charles Phoenix
San Francisco, CA: BIG RETRO SLIDE SHOW
Roxie Theater, Thursday, April 14, 2011
Las Vegas, NV: BIG RETRO SLIDE SHOW
Viva Las Vegas – Rockabilly Fest
Fri, April 22 & Sun, April 24, 2011
Buena Park, CA: RETRO KNOTT’S BERRY FARM SLIDE SHOW
Bird Cage Theater (inside Knott’s), Sunday, May 15, 2011