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Cover image kindly provided by Lucian Lodico.

What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to the Illinois village of Pocahontas, one might think that it was named after the famous Native American who saved the life of early colonist Captain John Smith, and who would later die at the tender age of 21 on a ship sailing down the Thames River carrying her and her husband John Rolfe back to Virginia after a tour of England.

Postcard with multiple views showing Powhatan Motel and Restaurant sign along with the motel and restaurant themselves.
Postcard c. 1970. Public Domain

However, the truth is Pocahontas was originally known as Hickory Grove, and then Amity until 1847 when it was incorporated as the village of Pocohontas (with an “o”) and named after the nearby coal mining company Pocahontas Coal. (Incidentally, in 1855, the village adopted the more traditional spelling of Pocahontas with an “a”.)

Nevertheless, obviously going with the whole theme, E. Thomas Keeton built Powhatan Motel – the first motel in Pocahontas in the mid-1960s. (Powhatan was not only the chief of the Virginia area tribe that bore his name, but he also just happened to be the father of Pocahontas.) Keeton’s wife, Sylvia, opened the 12-room motel along U.S. Route 40 in April 1966.

Two years later, the couple built the adjacent Powhatan Restaurant and leased it to William T. “Tom” Funderburk who opened the restaurant the same day that Exit 36 to Pocahontas opened on Interstate 70.

Photo of sign reading Powhatan Motel and Restaurant.
Image courtesy the Powhatan Restaurant via Facebook

The back of a postcard featuring both the motel and restaurant from around that time not only touted the motels “luxurious rooms”, but also tempted guests with the restaurant’s “Pow Wow cocktail lounge” and meeting and banquet rooms.

Though the Keetons and Mr. Funderbirk have since passed away, both the motel and the restaurant are still in operation today.

The Powhatan Motel regularly gets 4 to 5 star ratings for its clean, spacious rooms with big comfortable beds, hot showers, and welcoming and friendly staff. There’s free WiFi available and it’s also pet friendly.

Likewise, the Powhatan Restaurant has a 4.3 star rating on Google and just reading the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu is sure to make your mouth water. They even feature build-your-own tacos!

For those interested in stopping in for a bite to eat or staying the night in a comfortable mid-century motel for that retro road trip experience, call +1 618-669-2233 for more information. (Of course, you can also book the motel through nearly all of your favorite online booking sites.)

Stephanie Stuckey wearing the "Eat Here and Get Gas" T-shirt.Oh, and with the nearest Stuckey’s 100 miles away, be sure to get plenty of your favorite Stuckey’s road trip snacks to help get you to Pocahontas or wherever your next big road adventure takes you.

Order your Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls, pecan pralines and other treats along with all of the Stuckey’s branded t-shirts, caps, and travel mugs you need to keep you looking and feeling cool on your next summer family vacation by road – only from

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!

Whether your next road trip is by car or by rail, it’s not really a road trip without taking Stuckey’s along. From our world famous Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls to our mouthwatering Hunkey Dorey, Stuckey’s has all the road trips snacks you’ll need to get you where you’re going.

For all of the pecany good treats and cool merch you’ll need for your next big road adventure, browse our online store now!

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!