The orange groves are long gone, and so is the Wigwam’s principal reason for being—to attract tired travelers zooming by on busy Route 66.
The last orange tree near the San Bernardino motel got uprooted in the late 1960s, and new interstates supplanted Route 66 as a travelers’ route by 1974.
But thanks to its owners, the Patel family, the Wigwam Motel is looking better than ever. It is also officially historic, having been added to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year.
Built between 1947 and 1949, with several units and the pool added a few years later, the Wigwam was the seventh such motel built by its inventor, Frank Redford, who loved all things Native American. (However, he did confuse wigwams, which are domed, with teepees, which are conical.)
The Wigwam remains intact and, according to the National Register application, continues to “convey a strong association to a time when U.S. Highway 66 served as a significant route for automobile tourists.”
“Have You Slept in a Teepee Lately?” its sign asks. Well, have you?
More on the Wigwam Motel: wigwammotel.com