The Wigwam Litchfield Park, Arizona
The Wigwam in Litchfield Park, Arizona is one of the original Arizona hotels. It was started in 1918 by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company headquartered in Akron, Ohio. Mr. Paul Litchfield of the Goodyear Corporation came into this area in 1916 and purchased 16,000 acres of land to plant cotton for the cord in their new pneumatic tires. When the Goodyear executives came to visit their farming operation, it took them a half day to travel by horse and buggy from Phoenix to Litchfield Park. Their solution was to construct “The Organization House” that eventually became The Wigwam.
The original building served six people and featured a fireplace room that is still enjoyed by guests today.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company started their Arizona cotton farms in Chandler.When their executives visited their ranch in Chandler they were guests at the San MarcosHotel. Their visits to this historic hotel inspired them to open The Wigwam as a public resort.
The Wigwam opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1929 as a public resort with 13 rooms to accommodate 24 guests. Upon check-in everyone was assigned a horse as it was considered a Dude Ranch. After a successful season the resort expanded by adding several wickiups to accommodate 66 guests and in 1930 added a nine-hole golf course.
Trips on horseback were regularly planned for guests and The Wigwam ran its own stables offering trail rides and hayrides. Sunset Point, an outdoor barbecue and party area, was used for entertainment and special events held by the Goodyear Company and their families.
Guests were also offered sightseeing tours on the Goodyear Blimp “Resolute”. In 1930, a private landing field was built near the resort for the Blimp and in 1946 a private runway for planes was constructed.
Many changes took place at The Wigwam in 1941 as the United States entered WWII and Luke AFB was established two miles north of Litchfield Park. The Wigwam was closed to the public from 1942-1945 and the 110 rooms were leased to house military personnel from Luke AFB.
In 1949, two decades after it opened to the public, the resort flourished from a dusty Dude Ranch to a popular retreat offering tennis courts, swimming pools, golf and new restaurants and lounges.
In 1965, two 18-hole golf courses were constructed under the direction of Robert Trent Jones, Sr.. These were identified as the Blue & Gold Courses and were named in honor of the Goodyear Corporations company colors. A third 18-hole golf course known as the West Course was added in 1974. In the late 80’s this course was named the Red Course in honor or Robert “Red” Lawrence who was responsible for its construction and also for V. O. “Red” Allen, a Wigwam Golf Pro, who was there for 42 years.
Today The Wigwam is the only property in Arizona holding three 18-hole professional golf courses onsite.
In 1986, The Goodyear Corporation sold The Wigwam and all of their holdings in Litchfield Park. In 1987, Litchfield Park was incorporated as a City and The Wigwam has since had a couple of new owners. In 2010, Jerry Colangelo and JDM Partners purchased The Wigwam and invested $7 Million into this iconic resort. In 2011, JDM brought The Wigwam under the management of Pyramid Hotel Group. The resort was returned to its original name and new amenities that included a redesigned main pool, new outdoor plaza, an outdoor bar and lounge and the opening of Litchfield’s, a signature farm-to-table restaurant, and new programming for their guests that included community events.
Starting in 2015 there were several renovations that included Red’s Bar & Grill that now features an indoor/outdoor concept. The Oasis Rooms were renovated and The Gold Golf Course bunker was renovated under the direction of famed Golf Pro Tom Lehman.
In 2015-2016 the Gold Golf Course and the Patriot Course, formally the Blue Golf Course, both celebrated their 50th Anniversary. Jessie Davis, a long term employee, celebrated his 45th Anniversary by having a street named for him. Jesse Circle is located by Red’s Bar & Grill and The Wigwam golf bag drop off.
A time capsule was buried on the front tee of the Gold Course to be opened in 2065. In 2016, a bunker renovation will be completed on the Patriot Course, The Fitness Center and Oasis Pool upgrades will be completed in addition to new landscaping at the main drive will also be completed.
The Wigwam grounds cover 440 acres of lush landscaping. It has 3 golf courses, 9 tennis courts, a tennis shop, 4 swimming pools with water slides, a golf shop, a health club, full spa services, an exercise center plus locker rooms with exercise equipment and a full scale beauty salon.
The Wigwam has 331 rooms and around 100,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting space and party lawns. The Wigwam has 3 restaurants and 2 poolside bars included is the award winning restaurant Litchfield’s and also Red’s Bar & Grille.
The Wigwam has successfully kept current and at the same time maintained its historical charm. The Wigwam has been visited by many prominent people such as US Presidents, famous Hollywood stars and professional athletes.