Several summers ago, my friend and I were on our way to Wyoming for a week of vacation in the Big Horn Mountains.  The rest of my family wasn’t able to make it and my friend had, oh, miracle of miracles, been able to take off an entire week.  She’d never been on a road trip of that magnitude nor been to that part of the country, so I was trying to decide what she should see on the way out or the way back.

Usually we don’t stop except for necessities such as food, gas, and pit stops, because we can’t wait to get to Wyoming and we do all our sightseeing on the return trip.  But on our second day, I realized there were two places we needed to stop on the way out, leaving Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands for the trip home.  The second of these, Wall Drug, I wrote about in an earlier post (https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/08/04/still-on-the-road/).   The first is located in Mitchell, South Dakota and is the world’s only Corn Palace.  It’s something you think will be…well, corny, but it’s quite amazing, definitely unusual and well worth the stop.

The first Corn Palace was decorated in 1892 and the outside walls were decorated with the fruits of the fields of South Dakota, corn and other crops or grasses.   You can see previous Corn Palace decorations, including the first one, at http://www.cornpalace.org/.  Take a look, because the original Corn Palace was ornate, almost Russian in design and quite spectacular.   The third building that serves as the current Corn Palace was built in 1921.  Each year, the decorations are completely removed and new ones erected, the murals designed by a local artist.

Over half a million people visit the Corn Palace each year and the interior is used for a variety of events, including a rodeo and the home basketball games of the Dakota Wesleyan University Tigers and the Mitchell High School Kernels basketball teams.  There are plenty of cute shops nearby, an outstanding doll museum, and an excellent coffee shop but the Corn Palace is the big draw.  I wasn’t sure how my friend would like it, but as we left, she said, “I thought this would be corny.  But it’s really interesting!”  Punny but true.  If you’re ever in the area, be sure to stop and and while you’re there,  go across the street and take a picture with the big corn himself!

Comments
  1. becca givens says:

    You captured some great shots — we were there last September. It was very very early in the day; the sun was not in the right location when I took my outside shots; scaffolding was still in front, and the murals were incomplete. I am glad you gave me the link — it is good to see the front murals finished. 😀 These have such vivid colors. Thank you for sharing!

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