Skip to Main Content

Teepee rooms.
Kentucky travelers have been sleeping in Wigwam Village since 1937.

Wigwam Village Motel No. 2

Field review by the editors.

Cave City, Kentucky

First, some quick history. Frank A. Redford lived in Horse Cave, Kentucky. He was an only child. When his father died in 1931, Frank -- already in his early thirties -- took a trip to California with his mom. While they were in Long Beach, Frank saw a big concrete tee pee named Tee Pee Barbecue, a drive-in that had been built by James H. Estes in 1927.

The comfort of teepee symmetry.
Teepee for two (or more). Bedroom tile floor = easy mop-ups.

Frank never forgot it.

He returned to Horse Cave and, in 1933, built a near-exact copy of Tee Pee Barbecue as a gas station/roadhouse. In 1935 he expanded the concept by adding six tourist cabin tee pees. He called it Wigwam Village because he thought "tee pee" sounded weird, and most Americans with cars didn't know the difference between a wigwam and a tee pee anyway (Or how to spell it; we've seen "tipi," "tepee," "tepe," "tee pee," and "teepee").

In 1937 Frank elaborated and perfected his vision with Wigwam Village No. 2, seven miles south of his prototype, in the much more touristy town of Cave City. Here, 15 cabin tee pees were arranged in an "encampment" arc around a grassy commons where travelers could cook outdoors over fire pits or just hang out at the end of a day's drive. The big center tee pee, advertised as "The Largest Wigwam in the World" (but known colloquially as "Bigwam") stood over 50 feet high, weighed nearly 50 tons, and had a circular lunch counter inside and gas pumps out front.

Sleep in a Wigwam.
Wigwam Village neon sign rises above its former gas pump island.

Frank liked the Wigwam Village idea so much that he franchised it. Seven Wigwam Villages were eventually built. Wigwam Village No. 2 is the oldest of the three survivors, although its gas pumps and lunch counter are long gone (Ivan John, who owned the Village in the 1990s, told us that a previous owner had gutted the big tee pee and sold its historic contents at a Sotheby's auction).

The reasons for staying overnight in Wigwam Village have changed over the years. Travelers originally wanted to experience the romance of the Old West; now they want to experience the romance of Old Roadside America. Wigwam Village is much more successful at the latter than it was at the former. Although the Village is well-maintained, the cabin tee pees are small by modern motel room standards; some of their hickory beds and cane furniture date to 1937; the bedroom floors are tile (easy to mop); the bathrooms are tiny; and the tee pees can be too warm in the summer and too cold in the winter. Which is exactly how motels used to be in Old Roadside America.

Wigwam Village.
"The Largest Wigwam in the World" and its satellites: a symphony of cement.

None of this, however, discourages today's tourists from wanting to stay at Wigwam Village No. 2. Creature comfort you can get anywhere, but only at Wigwam Village can you spend a night inside a concrete tee pee in Kentucky. The 15 cabins are usually booked solid in the summer, and are similarly busy on off-season weekends. Owners Keith Stone and Megan Smith, who bought the property in 2021, restored the motel's neon sign and hope to revive the Bigwam coffee shop.

Frank Redford eventually sold Wigwam Village No. 2 and moved to southern California, where he oversaw construction of the last Wigwam Village, No. 7, which opened in 1950 (The same year that the Tee Pee Barbecue was torn down).

Frank died at Wigwam Village No. 7 seven years later, on December 3, 1957, at the early age of 58. His vision of coast-to-coast tee pee motels was unrealized, but along the way he'd created an American roadside icon, and his great work was complete.

Official website of Wigwam Village #2, Cave City, KY.

Also see: Wigwam Village Motel No. 6 | Wigwam Village Motel No. 7

Wigwam Village Motel No. 2

Historic Wigwam Village No. 2

601 N. Dixie Hwy, Cave City, KY
I-65 exit 53. Drive east about a half-mile, past the fast food places, to US Hwy 31 W. Take the first left and Wigwam Village is a mile or two on the left.
Office daily 8-8. Advance reservations strongly recommended. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Free to look.
RA Rates:
Major Fun
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Mammoth Cave Wildlife MuseumMammoth Cave Wildlife Museum, Cave City, KY - 2 mi.
Dinosaur WorldDinosaur World, Cave City, KY - 2 mi.
Treasure Trove ParkTreasure Trove Park, Cave City, KY - 3 mi.
In the region:
The Mayor's Stonehenge, Munfordville, KY - 9 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in Kentucky

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in Kentucky.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Save Cool Vacation Destinations! ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

Kentucky Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Daredevil Graves of Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls, New York (Jun 17-23, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings