In 1892 the small community of Mitchell, South Dakota decorated the exterior of their civic center with products of that years’ harvest as a way to celebrate their farming successes. Almost every year since then they have continued that tradition by putting up new decorations using corn, other grains and native grasses.
Each summer, the previous year’s murals are removed and replaced with all new murals celebrating that year’s theme. Themes have ranged from western and life on the farm to patriotic and military scenes. More than a quarter million ears of corn are used to redecorate each year.
Today, the corn palace receives more than 500,000 visitors every year, and this year, one of those visitors was me. Last week while in the area attending a business conference, three of my co-workers and I took the time to visit the corn palace.
First, we looked at the outside of the building and all the murals.
Workers were removing last year’s scenes and stapling different colored corn ears to prescribed areas to depict this year’s scenes.
Up close, it’s like paint by number, only it’s staple by number.
The corn is grown specifically for the corn palace in all-natural colors.
Inside, there is a basketball court, gift shop, and pictures along the walls showing how the corn palace has appeared every year since 1892.
There are also corn murals on the walls of the basketball court.
Also on display are drawings that were used as templates for previous year’s murals.
It’s pretty amazing to think of all the effort that has gone into keeping the corn palace going the 119 years since it began.
Kudos to the people of Mitchell, South Dakota! May you have many corny years to come.
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I’ve never been there, but I think it would be fascinating.
In all our travels in that neck of the woods, we never stopped there. Now, I wish I had.
I was there in July with my DH. It sure is a corny place or is that palace?
Considering I was born in South Dakota, it’s kind of amazing I’ve never been to the corn palace (at least not from what I remember, my parents may have taken me there when I was a wee one). It’s such a fascinating place. I never knew there were so many different natural colors of corn.
That is SO amazing! Love to see it in person, one day. Thank you for sharing!
You’re welcome! Thank you Julie.
What an awesome place! Putting the corn palace on my official bucket list, to visit. Your blog, btw, is absolutely fabulous, and coming from a lifer Kansan, you can take that to the bank. 🙂 I have shared many of your posts with my friends on facebook. You are the real deal, writing your views on the beautiful prairie of the Great Plains, her people and traditions. Keep up the excellent writing, and photography. You see our gorgeous state with your heart.
Well thank you so much Jenny! And thank you for visiting too. Love to hear from you.
Wow thanks for that post. I can’t even imagine the work that goes into that, let alone the artistry and imagination. Fantastic.
How fascinating! I wonder what it looks like by spring…do the squirrels feast on the decorations?!
That’s what I wonder too. And the birds too. One of the corn palaces nicknames is the “world’s largest birdfeeder”
Very cool. I am surprised it isn’t covered with birds. Don’t they eat it? BTW, I thought of you, in this weekend’s “Travel” section of Sundays paper was a huge spread on the Tall Grass Praire reserve in Kansas. Very cool article and a nice set of pictures.
Oh wow, missed that one. I’ll see if I can find it online. It’s such a special place. In fact we are headed down there this weekend again.
Absolutely fascinating! What took off the other turrets that were shown in the 1908 photo? Wind? Ice?
All I can say is WOW! Never knew it existed! Glad you got to go!
They built a new building in the 20s that didn’t have any turrets, and then after a few years they missed the turrets, so they added them on again.
The creativity of people never ceases to amaze me!
Fun to see these photos! I visited there a couple of times many years ago.
Every time I see photos of this place I am more amazed. What an interesting way to celebrate corn!