The Flute Shop

Torrey, Utah | C.1880

Photo Credit: Jeffrey Czum

Who needs a mint on their pillow? After a night’s stay at The Flute Shop you could bring home a custom-made instrument. Part-trading post and part-motel, The Flute Shop offers its guests a one-of-a-kind hospitality experience deeply rooted in Native American culture. And as its name suggests, its specialty is the wooden flute.

Some have described The Flute Shop as being in “the middle of nowhere”, but the curious motel is actually located in the tiny town of Torrey, Utah. While the present-day town was founded in the late 1880s by Mormons, the region had been inhabited by Native American tribes for thousands of years. Tribes like the Ute, Paiute, and Navajo called the region home.

Before European settlers moved West, these tribes flourished within their respective regions, each with their own vast cultures and customs – including music. While indigenous peoples had used flutes since prehistoric times, the Native American wooden flute we know today emerged during the 19th century. The modern Native American flute first appeared in photographs of the Ute tribe in southern Utah in the 1850s.

Today, the owners of The Flute Shop continue this tradition with their Native American-inspired, handmade wooden flutes produced right in their workshop. Along with the flutes, visitors can peruse Native American jewelry, rugs, pottery, and kachina dolls in the motel’s gift shop. However, their greatest gift may be keeping the history of Native American culture alive.

📖 Featured in Whalebone Magazine’s The National Parks Issue

Written By: Kelly Murray

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