Skip Navigation

Koolwink Motel

The American Dream in Romney

Text and photographs by Carl E. Feather

Owners in front of the Koolwink
Owners Wallace and Pauline Mauk at the Koolwink Motel on U.S. Route 50 near the outskirts of Romney. The pair bought this business at auction in 1955.


For more than five decades, weary motorists on U.S. Route 50 have found Romney’s Mr. Koolwink to be a most accommodating chap. Looking like a suave character from a 1930's magazine, Mr. Koolwink is the logo for the eponymous motel on Romney’s east side. He pervades the place, from the exterior plastic signs bearing his figure to the ceramic coffee mugs and complimentary stationery and postcards offered at the front desk. Little notepads and red pencils bearing his logo are parked next to the telephone in each room, and Mr. Koolwink adorns the wrappers of the mints that greet new arrivals to their rooms. Logically, Mr. Koolwink’s image is also on the ice buckets.

The Koolwink Motel, owned by Wallace and Pauline Mauk, blends the no frills hospitality experience of the mid 20th century mom and pop operation with modern amenities, like in room microwave and wireless Internet connection. The furnishings and exterior are retro, yet immaculately preserved and maintained.

This hospitality anachronism has been family owned since a fateful day in 1955, when the then-30 year old Wallace Mauk grew impatient at an auction.

“They’d been jumping the bids by just $50 each. So for some crazy reason, I raised it by $500,” recalls Wallace, describing the situation that led to him purchasing his great-aunt’s Koolwink Tourist Home at a liquidation sale. “It was up to about $12,000, and I jumped it $500. Then another guy jumped it $500, and I jumped it $500 more and bought it.”

To this day, Wallace, who is in his early 80's, cannot explain his initial interest in the motel business.

You can read the rest of this article in this issue of Goldenseal, available in bookstores, libraries or direct from Goldenseal.