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Resort History 2017-08-02T01:52:37+00:00

Historic Resorts Phoenix

One thing that grows quite well in dry, sandy Arizona soil is cotton. And for that fact we at The Wigwam are especially grateful.

Our historic hotel in Arizona is a direct descendant of the state’s early cotton ranching business. When Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company discovered that long-staple cotton extended the life of its tires, the company bought 16,000 acres of Arizona land for cotton farming. In 1918, the company established the Organization House, the first building on the site, as lodging for ranch suppliers. These guests suggested that it would be a great place to spend a winter vacation, as did Goodyear executives who sometimes brought their families when visiting the farm. On Thanksgiving Day, 1929, The Wigwam officially opened its doors as a guest ranch with enough rooms for 24 guests. The first nine-hole golf course was built in 1930, expanding to 18 holes in 1941. Although this resort and hotel in Litchfield Park has steadily grown over the past 85 years, a portion of the original structure,The Organizational House, remains as the cornerstone of The Wigwam’s authenticity and southwestern charm.

Today, the resort is managed by The Pyramid Resort Group, a division of Boston based Pyramid Hotel Group. Our 331-room resort features: three championship golf courses-including the Robert Trent Jones Sr.- designed Gold and Patriot Courses; nine tennis courts; three swimming pools including a 25′ dual water slide; a luxury spa and fitness center; award-winning dining; 29 fireplaces and fire pits; 45,000 square feet of indoor meeting space with 25 separate meeting rooms and 55,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space.

History Timeline

1929

On Thanksgiving Day, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company opened “The Wigwam” as a guest ranch.

1930

In 1930, the first nine-hole golf course was developed, and in 1935 V.O. “Red” Allen expanded the course to 18 holes and became the first golf pro at The Wigwam. Between 1930 and 1940, building progressed rapidly and several new buildings called “wickiups” were built near the original main building, increasing capacity to 66 guests.

1940

By the mid-1940s, The Wigwam had expanded to hold 110 guests. But with the establishment of “Luke Airfield” and its subsequent training activities during World War II, the guestrooms were leased to house military personnel.

1954

In 1954, Reade Whitwell became manager of the resort as well as the Goodyear Country Club. The Wigwam underwent continuing improvements and expansions and reached a peak in 1969 when more than $2.5 million was spent on construction.

1965

In 1965, Robert Trent Jones, Sr. was brought in to oversee the development of a second 18-hole golf course and rebuild the first. The new 36 holes were renamed as the “Blue Course” and the “Gold Course.”

1970’s

In 1970, Whitwell was named General Manager of The Wigwam. Subsequent construction of additional guestrooms increased the capacity to 425 guests. In 1971, a new country club was completed, replacing the old clubhouse that was destroyed by fire in 1969. In the fall of 1979, two plush Presidential suites, the Oraibi and the Bacabi, were constructed. Named after the oldest Native American village in Arizona, the Oraibi suite features more than 5,000 square feet of elegant Southwestern furnishings and decor.

1980’s

By 1985, the number of casita guestrooms increased to 241 and could accommodate 500 guests.

1990’s

In 1990, SunCor sold the resort to Kabuto Arizona Properties. Kabuto made substantial enhancements to the resort, including a 10,800 square foot ballroom and 90 courtyard villas surrounding a second resort pool.

2005

In the fall of 2005, a renovation of the Blue and Gold golf courses was completed with a design by renowned architect Forrest Richardson. Also, in early 2006, a 26,000 square foot Red Door Spa and fitness center opened at the resort.

2008

Guests today will experience the “Rebirth of a Legend” with more than $25 million in additions and renovations in the last three years, including a new high-end steakhouse, state-of-the-art junior ballroom, and modern refurbishments throughout the property.

2009

Sports legend Jerry Colangelo, Director of USA Men’s Olympic Basketball and former owner of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and JDM Partners purchase the resort with plans to return the famed historic property to its legendary status. The resort joins the Destination Hotels & Resorts family.

2010

Jerry Colangelo and JDM Partners invest $7 million in rejuvenation of the iconic resort, creating new amenities, new experiences and award-winning dining offerings.

2011

History is remade with the re-launch of –The Wigwam. The resort returns to its original name and debuts a new resort experience that reflects Arizona’s beginnings and new amenities including a redesigned main pool, new outdoor plaza, indoor/outdoor bar and lounge and the opening of Litchfield’s, signature farm-to-table restaurant. New resort programming is incorporated into each guest experience including community events such as the weekly Farmer’s Market, Arts in the Park Concert Series and The Wigwam Fine Arts Festival.