Growing up in Northwest Iowa, in the days before Highway 20 was completed with four lanes, one of the most efficient ways to head east was to travel on Highway 3. My family would get on Highway 3 at Cherokee and head east for any number of miles - but nearly every time - our trip took us through Pocahontas, the Princess City of Iowa.
The city of course is named for Pocahontas, the Powhatan Princess who married John Rolfe but saved the life of John Smith, a founder of Jamestown, the first English settlement in North America.
On the east side of town is an enormous statue of Pocahontas and I was always told, growing up, that if you didn't wave at Pocahontas as you drove by...you would experience bad luck. To this day, every time I drive through Pocahontas, I do my best to give her a hearty wave.
However, on a recent adventure through the area, I did more than just wave...I actually stopped to check out the grounds of the area, which the city has done a nice job of turning into a bonefied tourist destination.
Unfortunately, someone had tied a pair of shoes together and thrown them up to her hand. They got stuck up there and were swaying in the wind.
The actual statue of Pocahontas has been around for nearly 60 years but there has been some nice additions as of late, including a new teepee and some landscape murals on nearby buildings.
A newly constructed metal teepee was added in 2014, at a cost of $16,000.
In addition to the benches, sign, and picnic table inside the teepee, there is also a guest book (which I signed) and a totem pole.
There are a couple of signs outside the statue that give a little more history about Pocahontas the person as well as the statue itself.
Elsewhere on the ground, there is a cabin that was open. I went in and found it to be sort of a museum of sorts. I believe it was once the meeting place of the Lions Club until they disbanded their local chapter a few years ago.
Inside, I found the walls covered in artwork, memorabilia, and other donated items. It was nicely curated. You could spend a fair amount of time looking through it all.
I particularly liked this painting of Pocahontas. It seems like maybe she is maybe giving someone (John Rolfe?) some serious side eye.
Elsewhere on the grounds, I found a bathroom facility though it was not open. I imagine it's been winterized and will re-open when warmer weather re-emerges.
There's also a few more picnic tables if you are looking for some place to enjoy lunch during warmer months.
The cabin also had some brochures about other things to see and do in Pocahontas County.
Of course, I've only hit the tip of the iceberg and there is much more to see and do. I look forward to returning again soon, perhaps when it is warmer, to take in much more of the Princess City and Princess County. In the meantime, don't forget to wave when you drive by. I'd hate for you to have bad luck.
As always, I welcome your suggestions of places to visit and profile whether in Pocahontas County or any of the other 98 counties in Iowa. If you have a good idea or would like to host the Iowa Adventurer, please drop me a note through my website.