CAVE CITY – Historic Wigwam Village No. 2’s famous neon sign once again shined brightly Saturday night to the admiration and enjoyment of the surrounding community.
The sign that famously reads “Sleep In a Wigwam” was taken down over the past month so it could be restored to its former glory.
New Wigwam Village owners Keith Stone and Megan Smith have been leading a large-scale renovation project of the historic location since they purchased and reopened the village March 1.
The owners used the return of the sign as an avenue to host a celebration for the public to see all of the progress that has been made at the village.
“The sign, of course, is a landmark in the town and the state,” Stone said. “So, we thought that repairing it and doing it right would send a message to the community and to potential guests that this is an important place.
“This was one of the first things we said we needed to get done. We were very fortunate to find a sign maker who knew how to do it.”
Bob Rueff of Louisville’s Rueff Sign Co. refurbished the sign, in part thanks to assistance of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission.
The commission awarded a $2,500 grant to help Stone and Smith pay for repairs to the sign.
Cave City Tourism’s Kerry Mears was at the celebration and spoke of the work done by the village’s new owners.
“It’s been quite a journey to get this purchase done,” Mears said. “If you haven’t seen yet, it’s amazing how much stuff they have actually done with the restoration.”
The event managed to bring out a large crowd full of “Wigwam Lovers” across multiple generations who relished seeing the sign light up Cave City again.
For 96-year-old Jeanne Mays, the village was the location of her and her husband’s honeymoon in 1945. Mays was determined to see the light come back on in person on Saturday night.
“I’m just thrilled to death,” Mays said with a smile. “I met the owner, and she (Smith) is so sweet.”
Mays was just one of the several dozen in attendance who showcased a deep connection with the village. It’s that connection so many have with the quirky motel that Stone says has stood out in a huge way to him and Smith.
“One of the things that surprised us was the support from the community and the guests,” Stone said. “This was built intentionally to build community among people with its semi-circle layout. Unlike other motels and hotels, people actually get together and talk to each other here. That was something we thought was very special and would continue to draw people in.”
Stone added that the main focus of the restoration of each wigwam was deep cleaning and repainting along with the resurfacing of the bathroom sinks.
Old photographs of the rooms and the exterior of the wigwams are also being used as a reference point to accurately restore the property.
Stone said they wanted the village to maintain a clean look while also keeping a nostalgic feel.
Visitors for Saturday’s celebration were able to get a look into a few of the wigwams and what improvements have been made. They were also treated to drinks and cake.
“This party is about you,” Smith told the crowd. “It’s about all the community who loves Wigwam Village. We are so honored. Every day people come here and tell us how much they loved this place. It’s a real big thrill to be here, and I just want to thank you for being part of the wigwam community.”
More information about Cave City’s Historic Wigwam Village No. 2 and its history can be found at the historicwigwamvillage.com website.