On a quick trip to the east side of our large state, to enjoy a Metallica concert (the pyrotechnics weren’t tranquil but they were VERY cool!*) we were able to knock another item off my South Dakota bucket list. We visited the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota! I have to say, while I was expecting something a bit campy and hickish, it was actually pretty cool. 😁
*A note on heavy metal concerts, they wouldn’t appear to be “tranquil” at first glance. However, I find them to be almost meditative…in a sense. As long as you aren’t being jostled too much by the screaming throngs 😳, the blaring music envelops you and blocks out your other senses. If you close your eyes and let the music take you, it’s almost like being underwater. I find the sensation of sensory deprivation to be calming. It’s like you’re floating, in a sea of sound, gently drifting on the sonic waves.
Is the Corn Palace really made of corn?
The Corn Palace was originally constructed in the 1890s to help draw people to the tiny town of Mitchell, SD. It was built in response to other, similar sites that were cropping up (no pun intended) around the Midwest. It has showcased stars ranging from Arlo Guthrie to Brittany Spears!
To clear up any confusion, it’s not actually constructed entirely of corn. Apparently, the original palace was fabricated with more corn but was also a haven to rats and not very warm during the–many–cold months on the northern prairie. It’s been rebuilt several times, but, it’s a typical steel and wood building with walls that are covered in variously-colored corn cobs and husks on the outside in designs that change each year (for 2018 the walls celebrated South Dakota weather, much to the delight of the meteorologist, Mr. Trekker).
What is the Corn Palace like on the inside?
When you first enter it, it looks like the lobby of your typical high school (or small, college) gym. That then opens into a larger gymnasium/auditorium area where some local college/high school teams play. The scene took me back to my country roots. The gymnasium reminded me of the one I spent many a Friday night in during my high school years back in Indiana (basketball is big there too, in case you were wondering). 😉
I was impressed by the wide variety of themes that have been showcased on the walls of the palace throughout the years, relating to natural phenomena, worldwide events (such as the World Wars) as well as the culture and activities familiar to the Northern Plains. I was also intrigued by the effort required to design and construct the various murals that cover the walls every year. (I can also recommend the YUMMY popcorn sold at the concession stand! 🤤 )
For more information on the Corn Palace, please visit the attraction’s website here. If you’re ever near Mitchell, SD (it’s right off I-90), I’d encourage you to stop in and check out this relic of the past. I think you’ll be glad you did!
Have you ever visited the Corn Palace? Tell me about your experience in the comments!
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