Sunday, May 8, 2022

Temperature 72 Degrees, Partially Cloudy

Mitchell Corn Palace

Yesterday we decided to do the tourist thing – visit the Mitchell Corn Palace.

Quite truthfully we weren’t expecting much. A few minutes for some pictures and then we would be heading home. After all everything we read on line, and many people we talked to told us there was really nothing inside worth seeing. Oh, how wrong they were.

This is the front with this year’s murals. A little research and we discover: The Corn Palace is decorated annually with 7 murals made out of 12 different colors of corn, each framed with native grasses, straw, milo, and sourdock.

A local farmer grows all the corn for the Palace, local artist(s) design the murals, and a team of approximately 20 workers change out the murals every year beginning in late-August and working into September (as crops become available). The Palace is never un-decorated, as the murals are not taken down until it is time to replace them in the late summer, when the work is a gradual process.

A bit more research and we also discover that: The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-place of the world”. We currently use 12 different colors or shades of corn to decorate the Corn Palace: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange, calico, yellow and now we have green corn! A different theme is chosen each year, and murals are designed to reflect that theme. Ear by ear the corn is nailed to the Corn Palace to create a scene. The decorating process usually starts in late May with the removal of the rye and dock. The corn murals are stripped at the end of August and the new ones are completed by the first of October. Just like South Dakota Agriculture, growing condition can affect production of our decorating materials and may delay the decorating process.

Now how did The Corn Palace ever come to be? Well, that’s why you need to go inside.

So the idea for a Corn Palace began in Sioux City, Iowa. However, it also ended there due to the Great Floyd River flood of 1892 that devastated Sioux City. But the idea for a Corn Palace never really died.

OK, but again how did it end up in Mitchell, SD?

In 1892 when Mitchell was no more that a small city of 3,000 residents the World’s Only Corn Palace was established on the city’s Main Street. It was meant to be a gathering place where city residents and neighbors from near and far could enjoy a fall festival with all kinds of stage entertainment to celebrate a successful crop-growing season and harvest. This tradition continues today with the Annual Corn Palace Festival held toward the end of August each year.

By 1905 the success of the Corn Palace had been assured and a new Palace was to be built, but this building soon became too small. In 1919, the decision to build a third Corn Palace was made. This one was to be permanent and more purposeful than its predecessors. The present building was completed in 1921, just in time for the Corn Palace Festivities.

In the 1930’s, steps were taken to recapture the artistic decorative features of the building and minarets and kiosks of Moorish design were added restoring the appearance of early day Corn Palace.

We also learned that: Today, the Corn Palace is more than the home of the festival or a point of interest of tourists. It is a practical structure adaptable to many purposes. Included among its many uses are industrial exhibits, dances, stage shows, meetings, banquets, proms, graduations arena for Mitchell High School and Dakota Wesleyan University as well as district, regional and state basketball tournaments. USA Today named the Corn Palace one of the top 10 places in America for high school basketball.

In fact while we were there they were in the process of setting up the hall for the graduation ceremony of Dakota Wesleyan University.

Following are some pictures of murals that are inside the hall itself. If you look closely at the murals you can actually see the individual ears of corn.

Following are some pictures of The Corn Palace beginning in the 1900’s up to present.

Well, after our exploration of The Corn Palace there was only one thing left to do

I had to have my picture taken with Cornelius!

Yup, another new T-shirt. How about that color!

So that is where we are at on The Road of Retirement. We’re doing our thing and having a blast. Yes, life is good as we make our way across this great land of ours. A couple of more days in this area and then we’ll be on the road again. Till then, we’ll make the most of each day that we are given. Hope you do too.

Thanks again for spending the day with us.  It’s always great to be able to share our story with family and friends. Comments? Feel free to share them with me. And always remember, cherish every moment of every day that God gives you and live those moments to the fullest.

Our continuing mission remains the same: to explore as many new states as possible, to seek out new acquaintances and make new friends, to boldly go where we have not been before


  1. I love corn, so anything to do with corn, and I’m in! I was wondering what the theme was this year. The murals are very interesting to me. It is art. If you had enough of other clothing, Barb would never have to do your laundry when you guys are traveling. Just put on that new T-shirt!


    1. The murals this year highlight the big top and the circus. I know they’ve already picked the new theme for 2023 and it will be “Famous South Dakotans”. You’re absolutely right about the T-shirts! I only brought about 2 dozen with me, the majority are at home. Continued safe travels and miles of smiles.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes I was pleasantly surprised with the corn palace when we traveled West in 2013. Thanks for bring back those memories.


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