Hello, my name is John Lewis.
Our father built the Wigwam Motel over fifty years ago. I wanted to share with you some of the stories that people call in after seeing the Wigwams in a newspaper article or magazine article. This is what I had related to CBS News out of New York in a taped interview.
A lady by the name of Sheila Settles from Indiana had recently seen an article by Associated Press in the Indianapolis newspaper.
She called me on the phone and told me that 1952 her family drove up to the Wigwam Motel and she was only four years old. She was asleep in the back seat of the car. While she was asleep the rest of the family left the car to look around. She woke up and saw all of those tepees, and thought that her family had been captured by the Indians. Later she had her own Wigwam for the evening and was happy as a child could be.
Several months ago I received a call for a reservation. This lady lived in the Los Angeles area. About a week later she called up and had to cancel the reservation. A few days later I heard from her again and she said that she had to cancel earlier due to the fact that their nine year old boy was under going chemotherapy for cancer. She asked, that if there were a free window open for them and their boy was feeling okay if that could just come in. I told them of course they could.
Two days later I received a call from Kingman, Arizona and they were on their way. I made sure that their Wigwam was ready for them. When their car drove up by the office I could see that they had a bed made up for their boy. He was sitting up, but his head was bowed downward. He didn't even look up. When the father came to register I pulled out a vintage postcard. It was very old, over 40 years old. I told him that I wanted him to give it to his boy and that it was very old and quite hard to get ahold of. Finally, both parents were up at the office. The boy remained in the Wigwam as he had a five year old sister to keep him company. The parents were very courageous. I finally saw the boy in the back standing in the door way of his Wigwam. When morning came they all had smiles on their faces as they had enjoyed a good evening together. This is one of the things that their son wanted to do afterall as the parents had related to me earlier.
On Dec 28, 2001 Mrs Sheri Sullivan wrote
a letter to the Wigwam Motel in which she recalls from her childhood (1957):
We stayed at the Wigwam Motel on Nov. 1st 1957. I was six years old, my brother Steve was 12. My parents, brother and I were traveling route 66 from California to Chicago, then on to New Jersey. We traveled in a 1952 Plymouth Belvedere car.
Our first stop was Holbrook - I begged my folks to stay at the funny wigwams. They agreed to spend the night here.
I remember it being cold and the office manager coming out to our wigwam and turning on the wall-heater for us - I never saw wall-heaters before because we had forced heating at home. The wall-heater made odd noises and scared me to leave it on all night. My father went ot the office and brought the office manager to our room to say it's all right, not to be scared. He was a nice man as I remember, but it didn't work - no heat that night, we all froze thanks to me.
I have never forgotten this place or the heater.
Thanks for the memory.
PS: I think we paid five dollars for the night back then.
On April 18, 2003 Jill and John DeVita from Phoenix, AZ wrote:
To the Lewis family and future guests of the Wigwam Motel
I had a few days with my son who is eight years old. While looking through the National Geographic Traveler Guide I spotted the Wigwam Motel and its great looking rooms. I knew this would be a wonderful experience for both, me and him. We jumped in the car and made our way from Phoenix to Holbrook. Luckily when we arrived there was a room.
John Lewis allowed us to see the room before we agreed to stay, however we were so excited, we had already made up our minds. The motel is run as it was originally when John's father built it.
My son was very excited and more pleased than he had originally thought he would be, once he saw the room. I'm glad we got the chance to stay in a place with so much history, and to make great memories with my child.
Thank you for the memories and the experience.
Jill and JohnTOP