Larry & Lee Ann's Journey travel blog

We've arrived, we're those little people in front!

I walked to the corner for this shot, note the large black...

Remember the corn-by-number I mentioned in text?

Moving back to the front, this is left mural, right above Through...

And the middle mural...

And the right...

A couple of colors used here...

Moving inside, we'll start with 1902...

The backward 'swatiska' figure is an Indian good luck sign...

1913, looks like something right out of Russia, doesn't it?

1916, I find it amazing that they did all of this detail...

1921, love the cars!

1942, murals were painted & partially redecorated due to World War II...

1945, same as above, due to World War II effort...

1950, my birth year, check out the bus & lamp posts...

Moving into the auditorium, note the work above the stage...

Seating for entertainment, sporting events, graduations etc...

Back to our left, over the door we just entered...

And the second mural to our left...

Of course they can't forget Mt Rushmore...

And hunting is very important to this area...

The detail is wonderful...

Top right of us now...

Nice work above the stage...

I hope you are not getting bored, they are all just so...

I like this one...

Looking back across the auditorium, gives you a better sense of the...

And what the view is from the seating area, looking at the...

2009 photo, Mt Rushmore outside in this one...

Back outside, note the platform under the tarp, they have stopped working...

Moving down the side of the Palace...

Look at all the work involved here!

What an amazing job and love the lamp post, check out the...

Nice workmanship here!

Beautiful!

One of many worker's, calling it a day...

Wonder if you can eat it? Might make your tummy red!

A few of the colors used, the light speckled are cool in...

A couple of more samples...

Part of the bushels mentioned earlier...

Back out front, notice mural on left top...

Scales of Justice on left of mural...

And my favorite of all, this is beautiful!

We weren't there at night, so I 'borrowed' this pic, note that...


Prior to our RV'ing life we had never heard of the 'World's Only Corn Palace' in Mitchell, SD. But many have told us that if we ever got in the area we should take the time to visit the palace. We had no idea what to expect and were pleasantly surprised. It took us about 2 hours to go through both the inside and outside, but I suppose if you were in a hurry you could do it in 30 minutes or so. Admission is free which is pretty amazing. There aren't many 'tourist attractions' that are free these days! And parking was plentiful and easy, even for an RV.

We learned that the first Mitchell Corn Palace was built in 1892. Early settlers displayed their agricultural bounty on the building's exterior to prove the fertility of the region's soil. The current Corn Palace is actually the third in Mitchell, but it's purpose hasn't changed. The building is famous for the huge, colorful murals on its sides, which are redesigned every year.

Today much of the work is done by hand and it is a delicate and detailed process. In early June the border trim of rye and sour dock is removed. 3,000 bushels of milo, rye, oat heads, and sour dock are cut, tied into bundles and stapled to the building typically by the end of July. After the old murals are removed in mid-August, sketches created by local artists are transferred to roofing paper and nailed to the mural panels. These sketches also serve as blueprints, as each color of corn and the area it covers is indicated on the drawing. Just think of it as a large-scale corn-by-number! Twelve shades of colored corn are currently planted in a separate field to maintain color purity, and the very best ears are handpicked for use on the Corn Palace. Each ear of corn is then sawed in half, shaped and trimmed to fit the designated spaces, then nailed into place by local artisans. Roughly 275,000 ears of corn are used to decorate the murals each year.

Throughout the years since the Palace first began there have been quite a variety of different themes featured in the murals. 1911 was an Egyptian motif. 50 years of South Dakota statehood was featured in 1939. In 1944 they featured a war theme. Scenes from the old west were shown in 1959. Mother Goose rhymes were the theme in 1971. 1992 was the centennial and featured murals from past years. The 2010 theme was "Through The Ages" depicting various modes of transportation and travel. As you can see in the pics, work has begun for the 2011 theme, 'American Pride'.

A history of the Corn Palace is presented inside, along the walls, of each year since its inception. Well done and interesting to us. I've read a few forums on the Corn Palace and many find it, well, 'corny'. Not us, we found it interesting and fun!

The Corn Palace also serves as a multi-use center for the community and region. The facility hosts stage shows, as well as sports events in its arena. USA Today named the palace as one of the top 10 places to play high school basketball games & called it the Boston Gardens of the Midwest. This year's Corn Palace Festival was held August 25-30th and we understand was a smashing success. The 30th Annual Polka Festival is Sept 17-19 with 3 bands performing in the arena. But we'll be back on the road by then so we'll have to polka somewhere else along the way, lol!

I'm posting a large amount of pictures today. I hope you enjoy them. As I said, we really enjoyed the Palace. There is an enormous effort put into this building every year, and it stands as a reflection of the people around it, hard working, friendly, honest...just salt of the earth good people. So we say, if you find yourself barreling down 1-90 headed somewhere, take an hour or two, stop, stretch your legs and come see the Corn Palace!



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