Village is an architectural oddity on the outskirts of Cave City, a little
town that for decades has been the main jumping-off place to Mammoth Cave
National Park, just about 15 miles away. Cave City probably has more
motels per square foot than any other town in Kentucky. Especially
in the old days--before Interstate highways--visitors to Mammoth Cave would
stay a night or two at one of Cave City's many "motor courts". The
most famous of these were the two Wigwam Villages, one on each of the region's
major US highways, 31W through Cave City, and 31E about five miles east.
Wigwam Villages #1 and #2 were wonders of their time.
While they were being built during the 1930s, one of the Louisville
newspapers sent a reporter down to record construction progress.
Other newspapers and magazines through the years ran stories about
the Villages. Eleanor Roosevelt passed by during one of her many
journeys through America, and commented about Wigwam Village in her daily
newspaper column, "My Day". Marion Post Wolcott, one of the Farm Security
Administration documentary photographers of the 1930s and '40s, stopped in
the summer of 1940 and photographed Village #2.
The Wigwam Villages had a large central "wigwam",
where the office and a restaurant were located. It had a full basement.
About a dozen smaller wigwams surrounded the main building. The
small wigwams were modern motel units, complete with baths. All of
the buildings were frame construction, covered with painted stucco.
Some time ago--25 years ago, I guess--Wigwam Village #1 on US
31E was destroyed. But Village #2 in Cave City thrives to this day.
There no longer is a restaurant; the main building is used for the
motel office and a gift shop that specializes in anything even remotely connected
with Native Americans. There also are the many old photographs, newspaper
and magazine articles, etc., about the place itself. You can still
stay the night in one of the little wigwams, which are now air-conditioned
and appear to be well kept.