Kuiper poses happily with a giant corn statue.

World’s Only Corn Palace

For no particular reason, here’s a pic from last summer’s roadtrip. We had a great time at the World’s Only Corn Palace (that is its actual name!) I’d handed off Kuiper to his dad in order to run in and check it out when I noticed a sign on the door. To my surprise, it proclaimed the Corn Palace to be dog friendly!!

This glorious attraction is located in Mitchell, South Dakota, a few hours east of Wall Drug and Mount Rushmore. It isn’t the only corn palace ever built, but it is the only one still standing (presumably because it is mostly made of concrete.)

For a brief time in the late 1800s, “grain palaces” were all the rage in the Midwest. The first corn palace was constructed in Sioux City, Iowa in 1887. It was 18,500 sq ft (1700 sq m) and drew over 130,000 visitors, including President Grover Cleveland and First Lady Frances Cleveland.

According to a contemporaneous article from the Sioux City Journal, Cleveland even appropriated a souvenir. “He remarked ‘With your permission I will take this large ear of corn,’ and the corn was put into his pocket.”

It sparked a serial trend. Within the next 4 years came 4 more Corn Palaces (each bigger than the last), a Hay Palace, a Blue Grass Palace, a Flax Palace, and a Coal Palace! And that’s just in Iowa! Nebraska built a Sugar Beet Palace. Texas built a “Spring Palace,” incorporating both grains and cacti. In all, the book “Palaces on the Prairie” was able to account for 34 palaces spanning 24 cities in 8 US states.

The first Mitchell Corn Palace (now World’s Only) was constructed in 1892, and a permanent structure (still in use today) was built in 1921. Over the years, it has hosted basketball tournaments, the Three Stooges, and an extremely wide variety of musicians, including John Philip Sousa, Duke Ellington, Willie Nelson and Rick Springfield. The exterior murals are made of 13 different colors of corn cobbs, and the murals are changed out every year with a new theme.

Admission and tours are free; I’d highly recommend checking it out if you’re ever in the area. There’s TONS of other great stuff to see in South Dakota, too. We ended up spending several days more than we had planned.

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bg72uKNgv83/

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