Wigwam Motel & Bucket of Blood Saloon

Visiting the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook this past summer was another item on my bucket list that I was able to cross off during our Route 66 travels along northern Arizona. I was really surprised the teepees looked exactly like what I’d seen in photographs.

There were once seven Wigwam Villages in the United States but today only three are open to the public—Cave Creek, Kentucky, Holbrook, Arizona, which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places, and Rialto, California.

The “village” concept for the motel was designed by Frank A. Redford and the first motel was opened in 1937. Chester Lewis, an Arizona motel owner, bought the rights to the wigwam design from Redford and built four more “villages”, including the one in Holbrook. Each teepee is 25 feet wide at the base and 28 feet high. Vintage automobiles decorate the parking lot and you won’t find an ice machine on the property or a telephone inside a teepee, but the rooms all have air conditioners and cable TV.


The Wigwam Motel in Holbrook closed in 1982, and shortly after in 1986 Chester Lewis died. After restoring the Holbrook Motel, Chester’s widow and children reopened the rooms in 1988. The 15 teepees are spread out in a semi-circle around the main office, which operates a museum open to the public and includes Mr. Lewis’s Indian artifacts and Civil War memorabilia along with his petrified wood collection.


While my husband browsed through the museum I struck up a conversation with another tourist and the lady had asked me if I had seen the remains of the Bucket of Blood saloon across town. I hadn’t, and as luck would have it, my husband and I were on a tight schedule and didn’t have time that day to see the remains of the saloon. But I did wonder if any historical western romance authors had ever referenced the saloon or Holbrook, Arizona, in their stories.



I found the following images and history of Holbrook and the Bucket of Blood Saloon HERE.

In the mid-1880s, Holbrook was known as a place “too tough for women and churches.” At the time there was little law enforcement when several cow punchers from the Aztec Cattle Company moved into the area. They called themselves the Hashknife Outfit, and they rustled livestock from other cattle companies. They also played a major role in the Pleasant Valley Feud, one of the longest and bloodiest land and cattle feuds in the history of the United States.

In 1886 there were 26 shooting deaths in Holbrook, which at the time only had a population of around 250. Many of the shootings were attributed directly or indirectly to the Hashknife Outfit. The Bucket of Blood Saloon got its nickname after a gunfight between the Hashknife Outfit and a group of cowboys who accused them of stealing cattle. The gun battle ended in so much death that the floors were said to be slick with a “bucket of blood.”

Years later the street that runs in front of the old saloon in Holbrook was renamed from “Central” to “Bucket of Blood St”. The new name landed on several top ten lists citing the most unusual street names.

For fun…have you ever lived on a street with an unusual name?


Until Next Time…Happy Trails!










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23 thoughts on “Wigwam Motel & Bucket of Blood Saloon”

  1. I was raised on Dublin Street in Stephenville, Texas.
    I now live in the country with my mail coming out of Dublin, Texas.
    Not as unusual as your history story.

  2. I lived on many streets but none too unusual. There was Gothier Rd and Hemple Dr and Weekeemeepee Rd. The last was probably the best. I would love to stay in the Wigwam Motel

  3. Fun post! I live in Kentucky and i’m glad that we still have our Wigwam Village! No strange street names for me but a few years ago 9-1-1 mapping was enforcer in our county and my co-worker suddenly found herself on Hussy Pike. She and many of her neighbors eventually convinced the Fiscal Court to change it.

  4. I remember when Oprah and Gayle went on their cross country road trip and stayed in one of those Wigwam hotels.

    My parents live on Slabtown Rd.

  5. Hi Marin! Fun post! Now that is your blue, wing-tipped Chevy, right? I’ve seen that in other pictures you have posted. And thank goodness those tipis have air-conditioning and cable. My husband wouldn’t know what to do without cable! (He is not a reader, like me. As long as I have a good book, I’m fine.) No unusual street names for me to mention. Pretty mundane ones as a matter of fact – White Oak Road, Conway … nothing too memorable.

  6. Never lived on a street with an unusual name. Our name is enough for people to get.
    If health issues do not get in the way, we hope to do a Route 66 trip one of these days. We have done a few stretches of it over the years.

  7. Loved the history in this blog! I always learn something I didn’t know from the blogs on P&P. Funny fact I have lived in Dublin, Texas (well outside of town on our feedlot) as well as Stephenville, Texas just like Jeri Lynn Hill above. In Stephenville I lived on the Hico Highway, the Glen Rose Highway, Columbus Street, Tarleton Street, Sandra Palmer Street and Phelps Street. All rather famous names except Phelps. I now live on Highway 287 in Cayuga, Texas I’m not even sure how my tiny community ended up named after the Cayuga Indians. I’ve lived all over but not any uniquely named streets that I can think of. My first apartment was when I lived in El Paso and it was on Sunland Park Drive that ended in Sunland Park, New Mexico at Sun Park Downs Horse race track. Of I know we lived on Happy Valley Road in Bellbuckle, Tennessee. ? Our house was in an actual Tennessee Holler on top of that. I’m sure if I kept typing I’d think of another. I was born in Tucumcari, New Mexico but since I lived there a whole month I do not know what street.

    • I’ve only read some of your contributions to anthologies but never one of your novels. I’d love the opportunity to read one of your books and a giveaway is an awesome way to find a new author to add to my go to authors list.

    • Stephanie, what a great run down of all the places you’ve lived! I can’t believe you remember all those names, lol! I bet you have some great stories to tell about the people you’ve met through the years 🙂

  8. Marin, I stayed in this motel many years ago. I was about ten or eleven years old and we stayed the night on our way to California. I thought it was the most exciting thing. I was surprised when I went through Holbrook about five years ago and saw that it was still open. I would love to live on Bucket of Blood Street. What fun that would be telling people!

    Hugs, Filly Sister!

    • Linda, how neat that you stayed in a teepee! What a great childhood memory 🙂 And it would be a lot of fun to live on a street like Bucket of Blood, lol!

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