Great Plains Agriculture Meets Czarist Russia Architecture



  Corn Palace - Mitchell, SD - YOU’RE THERE! WHY NOT!

Take I-90 Exit 332 and follow the signs.

The Corn Palace may prove irresistible due to the plentiful road signs touting its existence. With it’s onion domes and decorative pointed minarets, the building appears to be of Czarist Russian architectural design... in the middle of SOUTH DAKOTA, no less! The Corn Palace was established in 1892. Early settlers displayed the fruits of their harvest on the building exterior in order to prove the fertility of South Dakota soil. The third and present building was completed for it first festival at the present location in 1921. The exterior decorations are completely stripped down and new murals are created each year. The exterior and interior murals are designed by local artists and created each year from thousands of bushels of corn, grain, grasses, wild oats, rye, straw and wheat. The venue is used for performing arts, in fact, Neil Sedaka was scheduled to play the Corn Palace shortly after our visit. The Palace is also a sports arena, serving as the home court for the local high school basketball team, "The Kernals". When there is no basketball game or concert in progress, the basketball court is completely covered with tables and displays filled with expensive and delightfully tacky tourist souvenirs. Enigma that it is, the Corn Palace is a neat little break during that long drive across I-90. Admission is free, but souvenirs are expensive. There is food, ice cream and souvenirs available in the shops across the street. Allow at least an hour to visit. Getting off and on 1-90 takes several minutes... longer that you’d think it ought to, but directions to the Corn Palace are clearly marked although at times, you may feel like a rat in a maze.

We visited about 3 PM on a Tuesday in July, 2002

Weather: Sunny and hot with moderate humidity


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Click on thumbnails to the right for larger image.  
Photos top to bottom:  
1. Corn Palace Exterior 2002  
2. Corn Palace Exterior 2002  
3. Corn Palace Interior 2002  
4. Corn Palace Interior 2002  
5,6,7. Zooms in on "horse's mouth" to illustrate the nature of the corn murals.