POCAHONTAS, Iowa - It is the 60th anniversary of the day a statue of the Indian Princess Pocahontas, along Highway 3, was erected at the east edge of the city.
A few years back, some thought Pocahontas the statue was in need of some help. Mayor Dick Gruber decided to take action. With the city’s boom truck, he gave the princess a new coat of paint.
But some still thought she needed more than that.
A number of years ago, a wooden and tin building served as a souvenir stand and tee-pee. But that was in bad repair and was removed.
“It was kind of thought that the Princess needed a tee-pee,” said Gruber. “It's a great idea but getting it done another thing, we went online and check out some different tee-pees.”
A program called Hometown Pride had some grants and wanted to help Pocahontas. But the city was too small to qualify. So, they banded across the entire county including all other towns, getting the required 5,000 population.
Now, Pocahontas has a new tee-pee and other towns all have a new project to make their town better. The cost of the iron structure was $16,000. It is made of steel plates.
"Hometown pride if you're from Pocahontas, Havelock, Plover, Varina, Rolfe or Fonda,” said Chris Vrba, publisher of the Democrat Record Newspaper. "Any of our communities out here in small town Iowa, have pride in where you live, and we exemplify that here."
"The princess is our best landmark,” said city administrator Eric List. "We want to enhance the parking make it as visitor friendly as possible.”
The project has gone even further with a mural painted by high school art students. Trees were donated to help give a more park-like atmosphere, and a log cabin has been donated to act as a sort of visitor center. The cabin is now being moved from the local golf course to the Pocahontas site.
Many will get a chance to see all the improvements at the Pocahontas Heritage Days, which runs June 24-26.