#TBT – Wigwam Village Motel in Cave City, KY

Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY
Wigwam Village, Cave City, KY

A few years ago I was traveling in Kentucky and made my way into Cave City, a sort of retro resort town close to Mammoth Cave National Park with lots of old 1960s style neon signs, mom-and-pop restaurants, unique tourist attractions, etc.  Apparently the actual Wigwam Villages were built in the 1930s and 1940s.

Sleep in a Wigwam neon sign
Sleep in a Wigwam neon sign

On my first trip into Cave City I saw the Wigwam Village and was astounded that there was one on this side of the country. As a bus driver/tour guide in Flagstaff, AZ in the 1980s, I would see the Wigwam Village located near Interstate 40 and old US Highway 66 near Holbrook, AZ quite often. Even back then, I knew there was another near San Bernadino, CA, (See Wigwam Village #7 built in 1949) but I never knew about the one in Kentucky, which, as I have shown above, was one of the first.

Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY
Wigwam Village in Cave City, KY

There were actually seven of them originally, and now only the three remain.  See history here.  (Another nice history HERE) The first two were built in Horse Cave, KY and Cave City, KY. They were the creation of Frank A. Redford.  WWV #1 was completed at Horse Cave in 1935 and Frank patented the design in 1936.

Old Wigwam Village post card advertising #1 and #2
Old Wigwam Village post card advertising #1 and #2

WWV #2 was built in 1937 on U.S. Route 31W  just a few miles south of the original WWV #1.

Wigwam #2
Wigwam #2
Newspapers about the Wigwam Village on the walls
Newspapers about the Wigwam Village on the walls

Wigwam Village #2 consists of 15 wigwams used as guest rooms that are arranged in a semicircle. In the center is a much bigger concrete and steel central structure that originally served as a restaurant, plus a common area with playground, recreation space, and pavilion. Each wigwam has a paved pad to accommodate one car. The restaurant is no longer in operation, but the motel is still open.

Wigwam Office
Wigwam Office

The diameter at the base of each tipi is 14 feet, and they are 32 feet in height. Behind the main room of each unit is a small bathroom with sink, toilet, and shower.  Even on our visit in 2009 the rooms appeared to contain the original restored hickory furniture and a window-mounted air conditioner. There are no telephones to maintain the original atmosphere of the motel, but the rooms do have cable TV and internet access.

Sleep in a Wigwam
Sleep in a Wigwam
 Wigwam Village #2 is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  It achieved this status on March 16, 1988
Hanging at a Wigwam
Hanging at a Wigwam

So, when my sister and her family visited from Texas a couple of years ago we went to Bowling Green to the Corvette Museum for my brother-in-law who is a Corvette fanatic. On the way back we stopped in Cave City and visited the Wigwam Village.

Wigwams
Wigwams

They have a nice big gift shop similar to those that you would see on the old US Highway 66 routes with lots of trinkets and all sorts of kitschy things. Plastering the walls are photos of newspaper articles about the wigwam village and information about the history of the relic motels.

Wigwam Village Gift Shop
Wigwam Village Gift Shop
Typical Bed in the Wigwam
Typical Bed in the Wigwam
Indian Motif in the rooms
Indian Motif in the rooms
Wooden Furniture in the rooms
Wooden Furniture in the rooms

Now owned by people from India (ironic that those Indians now own it), I asked if they would let me go into one of the rooms and take some photos as I was doing a travel blog. I got the photos, but I never did get around to writing a nice blog post about it. So, here is my blog post about the Wigwam Village, so if it’s history and the history of the three of them from the country.

Wigwam Village motel souvenirs
Wigwam Village motel souvenirs
Brother in law with Indians in Wigwam Village gift shop
Brother in law with Indians in Wigwam Village gift shop
People staying at the Wigwams
People staying at the Wigwams

Ironically, there is a similar looking one that I came across in Texas last year, but the wigwams were called teepees where differently shaped. But the concept was the same.

Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Sumoflam at the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX
Sumoflam at the Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, TX

These throwbacks to the old US Highways and road trips are a lot of fun and I am sure staying in one of these would also be a nostalgic piece of fun. Maybe one day I will take a trip to Cave City with my wife just to be able to stay in the Wigwam for one night!

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It’s All in the Trip

Corner of This Way and That Way
The Corner of This Way and That Way in Lake Jackson, TX

I started off today on the last leg of a 9 Day Road trip. This was my second 9 day road trip in one month. Both road trips were mainly for family affairs of one type or another. So, that being said, I did have destinations for both trips.

Cow with Glasses in Guthrie
Giant Cow with glasses in Guthrie, KY

My first trip took me to Montana for my grandson’s baptism. I’ve already posted some content about that, but that trip took me almost 4600 miles in nine days and thru 12 states. I still have a few post to go to finish my blogs on that trip.

Riding the Ferry into Galveston
Riding the Ferry into Galveston

This current trip’s purpose was chiefly to attend a family reunion for my father’s side of the family. It was in Galveston, Texas. It is always wonderful to see family and it was a great time!

Kravetz Family Reunion 2014
Kravetz Family Reunion 2014

This current trip will eventually take me close to 3500 miles. When all is said and done I will have traversed through seven states on this trip.

Mammy's Cupboard in Natchez, MS
Mammy’s Cupboard in Natchez, MS

As many of you know, traveling the backroads of America and documenting the trips through photos and the written word is one of my passions. It brings me great joy to see this beautiful country of ours and to share with others who may not have the chance to visit some of the places I go.

Teepee Motel in Wharton, Texas
Teepee Motel in Wharton, Texas

For me, it is always about the trip and not about the destination. The backroads of America offer a myriad of surprises whether they be a unique town name, some unique roadside attraction, some amazing piece of scrap metal art or sensational Wall art or mural.

Sumoflam in Alligator, MS
Sumoflam in Alligator, MS

For these last two trips I have tried to focus on traveling US highways rather then the interstate freeways. Everyone knows that Route 66 is the epitome of the US Highway, at least to many who think about traveling on the road or other nostalgic road trips. Indeed, route 66 is a wonderful road trip in and of itself. At one time or another I have pretty much covered most of Route 66 over the years since the 1960s.

Devils' Crossroads, Clarksdale, MS
Devil’s Crossroads, Clarksdake, MS

But Route 66 is certainly not the only wonderful highway that one can take across this country. On my last trip to Montana, I traveled over a good portion of US Route 2 and some of US Route 89, not to mention a few others. On this trip I hit US Route 79, US Route 61 (The Blues Highway), US Route 59 and more. Each of these highways has their own unique character and characters! Indeed, in my opinion, they could rival Route 66 for nostalgia and roadside attractions.

Moddy Gardens, Galveston, TX
The three pyramids of Moody Garden’s in Galveston, TX

As I travel, I know that I barrage my friends with numerous selfie photos and other photos of the trip. But, I have friends that travel vicariously through me and I am cognizant of that as well. When I travel, the little child in me has joy, for this is the exploring, and the discovery. As a child we always explore and we love to discover new things whether it be a butterfly on our arm or a beautiful waterfall. That sense of excitement from discovery has never left me throughout my life. And I am grateful that I have friends out there that appreciate it and they share this joy in one way, shape or form.

Sumoflam in Friendship, Arkansas
Sumoflam in Friendship, Arkansas

On both of these trips I have met new people that share the same passion as I do. I met a photographer in Wyoming who loves to travel as I do and visit unique sites. I met a time lapse photographer who does time lapse for a living as I visited a unique destination in Nebraska. I met another individual from Scotland who lives in the states now and has traveled extensively. We visited a unique graveyard in Oklahoma. With all of these, we shared stories, experiences and enriched each others lives through doing so.

Hanging with Troy Landry
Hanging with Troy Landry, star of “Swamp People” in Pierre Part, LA

Through my travel blogs I have met other travel bloggers online and on this particular trip I got to meet a couple of them in person as I traveled through their hometowns. What a wonderful opportunity that was for me to meet these great people who share a passion and have so many wonderful things to share with me and all of the others that may visit their blogs.

Hanging with Tui Snider
Hanging with travel author and blogger Tui Snider, author of “Unexpected Texas”

Naturally, these road trips are long and they can be grueling, even to a road warrior like myself. But I look at the trips as “memory creators” as they build memories and help me to reflect on the joys of life during the more difficult times. To me, the best part of any long trip is the “looking back.”and these 18 days of travel over the last 30 days have created years of memories and stories for me to share with others and to treasure up within my own mind!

Billy Tripp's Mindfiled
Billy Tripp’s Mindfield in Brownsville, TN

This last day of travel has been a particularly challenging one for myself and also for my wife. We took a vacation “together” but “separately,” as I went to Galveston and she went to San Diego for her own family reunion with her sisters and brother. She was supposed to fly home to Louisville and my trip was scheduled such that I would meet her at the Louisville airport on my way home and pick her up. But things don’t always work as planned and when must be flexible and travel no matter how you do it.

Double Rainbow
A double rainbow near Arkadelphia, Arkansas

For Julianne, it was a challenging time as she got to the airport early but her flight canceled. She ended up having to consult with me on some other options. With some thinking, I realized that she was flying Southwest airlines and that they fly into Nashville and since I was driving through Nashville anyway, we tried to see if she could switch her itinerary to fly to Nashville, which, thank goodness she was able to do.

An Old Plane near Paris, TX
An old plane near Paris, TX

In the meantime, as I drove from my overnight stay in Arkadelphia, Arkansas last night, I had it planned such that I would arrive at the Louisville airport 30 minutes before her flight. That all changed with her flight, but then as I approached Nashville, near the town of Dickson, Tennessee, there turned out to be a horrific crash on interstate 40 just west of Dixon. And involved a semi tractor-trailer and a car and turns out that three people were killed. It also had a major impact on traffic is cars going in both directions on interstate 40 were backed up for 10 to 15 miles and not moving at all for nearly a half hour. That would’ve made me very late to pick up Julianne in Louisville.

Bad Accident near Dickson, TN
Bad accident on Interstate 40 near Dickson, TN

So as you can see, sometimes the flexibility of things does have a way of working its way out. So here I sit in the cell phone parking area of the Nashville international airport waiting for nearly 2 hours for my sweetheart tour right here this evening so that we can make a 3 1/2 hour drive back home to Lexington thereafter.

20140627-203919-74359685.jpgA vacation or a road trip or a field trip or whatever you might call it, will always have a plethora of memories. Some may be pleasurable, some may be fine and others may not be so good. But these create indelible memories in our minds and we can share them with others. I feel so blessed to of been able to take these two trips and see parts of America I’ve never seen, but some amazing people, enjoy some interesting food and create some awesome memories.

Clouds over Gause, TX
Clouds over Gause, TX

I am not sure when my next trip will be, but I worry live this trip over and over as I spend the next few weeks working to complete my blogs posts from both of the trips in the nearly 9000 miles with United States roads that I’ve covered during that time.

Sam Houston head in Huntsville, TX
Sam Houston’s Head in Huntsville, TX

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