Corn Palace & more...
Sep 19, 2013
|We got on the road this morning to much cooler temps & gray skies. It was 96 degrees when we landed in Murdo at 6pm last night and about 60 degrees when we pulled out this morning. It eventually warmed to the low 70's but the sun ducked in and out all day & there was a cool wind. We parked a block or so from the Corn Palace and I was quite glad to get indoors for our visit!
Prior to our RV'ing life we had never heard of the 'World's Only Corn Palace' in Mitchell, SD. But several folks told us that if we ever got in the area we should take the time to visit the palace. In 2010 we visited for the first time and we had no idea what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised. It took us about 2 hours to go through both the inside and outside. 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. Today we were there for about 45 minutes. There were young men practicing basketball shots & doing some sort of 'routine' so we didn't go onto the floor. But we checked out all of the displays, sat on the McCormick tractor & checked out the work that is ongoing out front.
As I mentioned earlier, when we visited in 2010 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. When we were here in 2010 work has begun for the 2011 theme, 'American Pride'.
The 2013 theme is "We Celebrate' depicting various holidays.
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. 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!
Tomorrow I will cover our visit to the Falls, in Sioux Falls of course. We arrived in town about 4:30 this afternoon, quickly set up and headed downtown while there was still a bit of light. It was gray & overcast and quite chilly but we enjoyed it very much. It started sprinkling as we were leaving, so much for strolling around downtown & having a nice dinner out. We got damp, chilled and were admittedly tired so we had a Hardee's burger right next door to the campground, fueled up and headed for our warm home & La-Z-Boy recliners. It's nearly time for bed now and we are both ready! So thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy today's pics. It was a nice ride on I-90 this morning & we really enjoyed it. Take care :)