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Historic Wigwam Village No. 2 undergoing restoration, new ownership

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Built-in 1937, Historic Wigwam Village No. 2 in Cave City has been visited by thousands. The motel is known for its unique design and atmosphere.

Recently Village No. 2 in Cave City underwent new ownership--who say they hope to restore the motel to its original 1937 splendor.

“It was built in 1937 by Frank A. Redford and he was trying to capitalize on the new traffic that was using what was then the new Dixie Highway going north-south to Florida. By creating a motel where people would want to stay, of course, you know, there were lots of motels, and how do you distinguish yourself from the crowd,” said co-owner of the village, Keith Stone. “He had been in Long Beach, California, and saw a sandwich stand shaped like a teepee. And so he built number one in Horse Cave, shaped like a teepee and ultimately into a motel.”

“That was his shtick that was to get people to stop and rent a room. And you know, there was a Mystique also about the West at the time, it was a frontier. And he was capitalizing on that as well. He got a patent on this in 1936. And again in 1952 and franchised wigwam village, and there were seven built up into the 50s. And only three remain. And this is one of them. And the other two are on Route 66,” said Stone.

Repainting and other restorations will be taking place at the motel, “We’re going to repaint them, we’re going to put the stripes back on them, we’re going to take the red flaps off, we’re going to change out the doors, the door, these are not the original doors, we are going to do more landscaping.” said Stone. “Unfortunately, we can’t replace all the trees that were last here, there used to be a lot of trees--we’re going to get some more retro playground equipment. And that’s a good start. Our plan for the big wam, we call it the big wam, which was where the restaurant was up until the early 70′s, is to restore that as well. And to see if someone wants to lease it from us and open a coffee shop, we think it would be perfect for the community. The community wants a coffee shop and also a place to meet.

Stone says the iconic neon sign that has invited customers to the village grounds for decades is undergoing reconstruction--and a relighting of the 84-year-old motel’s landmark neon sign will take place May 1.

“If you all come out on May 1 around 7, you’ll get to see this beauty get lit up first time in a while,” said Stone.

Historic Wigwam Village No. 2’s TV debut!

Posted by Wigwam Village No 2 on Thursday, April 22, 2021

According to a press release, you’re invited to a lighting of the newly restored neon sign!

“The lighting will take place about 7 p.m. with remarks starting about 6:30 p.m. from us, the motel’s new owners, Keith Stone and Megan Smith. We bought the property in November with the goal of bringing Historic Wigwam Village No. 2 back to its 1937 splendor. Others speechifying include those who have been instrumental in the restoration of the sign, such as members of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission. And if that is not enough... please leave room from your Derby noshing for a taste of a custom-made Wigwam Cake and Sleep-InA-Wigwam Cookies.”

Stone says he wants his wam stayers’ experience to be memorable.

“I want them to leave with memories. And more than one guest has come here and said that they were making memories with their children. They could have stayed in a regular motel, but instead, they chose to sleep outside the box As we like to say, and they want to make memories with their, with their kids. And part of that is it is a kid-friendly place, it’s got the playground in the center. And there are other kids and kids are not like adults, there are no pretenses, and they just play with each other. So and for people who don’t have kids, it’s really just a chance to do something different. And to step maybe step back in time a little bit and sort of imagining what it would have been like traveling by car, where the destination wasn’t as important as the journey. People were, people were excited to travel, and not necessarily get to a place. And that’s what this is, this is for some people who’ve been on the road for a couple of days, you know, this was a stop for them as part of the journey and not just a place to sleep,” said Stone.

The address to Historic Wigwam Village No. 2 is:

601 N. Dixie Highway, Cave City, KY

You can visit their website by clicking here

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