South Dakota: Mitchell – Corn Palace

Visiting the home of the World’s only Corn Palace

Zipping across the mid-west through South Dakota we decided to pull off I-90 and head into the small town of Mitchell, South Dakota.

Mitchell is home of the world’s only Corn Palace. The original version of the Corn Palace was established in 1892 as a place for the community to congregate. As Mitchell grew it outstripped the capacity of the Corn Palace which was subsequently rebuilt, bigger and better, twice more with the current building being completed in 1921. In the 1930’s the building was remodeled to capture the essential spirit and decorative features of the first palace, with the minarets and Moorish design elements we see today being added.

The Corn Palace is decorated with several colors of dried corn and grains creating murals. The theme of the murals is changed annually. The building itself is used for several purposes including as an arena for basketball games and other community events. The Corn Palace festival takes place in August as part of the harvest celebration and 400,000 people visit annually to see the decorations. Unfortunately we are month or so too early. The decorations on the outside of the building are lovely but the inside is somewhat disappointing. We had expected something quaint but it is really a very functional community center, complete with a basketball arena.

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