Thursday, March 24, 2011


We have about three wigwams in our area.  One is at the local museum and is the most  genuine, the other two are used as guest accommodations in a local B & B and also a private house.  They are not genuine to our area as the local Indians used to hollow out the earth for shelter.  Wigwams are the province of the Plains Indians who would move around a lot and take these tents with them.  They are quite cleverly constructed and some of them have poles on the outside to strengthen them.

Down in San Bernardino there is another more unlikely set of Wigwams, more correctly called tepees.  They are at the Wigwam Motel.  It was built in 1949 by Frank Redford and was number seven in a chain that stretched from Kentucky to California.  This strange place is on the old Route 66, which was the home of many such novelty places.

I did a piece on it some years back and met the owner, who is a Mr. Patel from India, and who has owned it for close to 35 years.  It struck me as quite funny that here I was an Englishman, who's ancestors were obsessed with finding a route to Mr. Patel's land to acquire spices, and here today we had a real Indian on historic Route 66, owning a business build by European Americans in the style of the Native Americans of so long ago which the explorers thought were real Indians; a true example of the giant melting pot in action.  Also the confusion of conquerors.

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