Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Corn Palace and A $25,000 Gift From The Taxpayers!

More than a few people have suggested that we find our way to the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota.  Yesterday, we made a special effort to see this odd spectacle.  More than a half-million others will do the same thing this year. 

Yep, all that decoration is CORN.
The world's largest bird feeder.
The Corn Palace was originally built in 1892 to encourage people to settle in Mitchell and it became so popular, that in 1904, the city of Mitchell challenged the city of Pierre to become South Dakota's capitol.  These folks were serious.  So much so that they built a brand new Corn Palace! That would be Corn Palace #2.

Corn Palace - 1921
It was called the Corn Belt Exposition back then.
But alas! Third time is charm and that was proven in 1921 when the Corn Palace was rebuilt yet again. The Moorish domes and minarets added in 1937.  It's Corn Palace #3 and the one we visited today.

It costs $130,000 annually to decorate the Corn Palace. It is completely redecorated in corn (ears, shucks, cobs) each year with a new theme.  All the corn used comes from a 30 mile radius of Mitchell.

Looks like the Corn Palace is going to host a rodeo or horse show the day we were there.
The smell of dry corn is everywhere.  We were covered in corn dust.
The Corn Palace in Mitchell was preceded by several other corn palaces including: Corn Palace in Sioux City, Iowa (active from 1887–1891);  Corn Palace in Gregory, South Dakota; and several grain palaces.

Well, not really the "only" corn palace.
Maybe the "only one left"...
In 2004, national attention was drawn to the Corn Palace when it received Homeland Security funding. I don't know the amount but this action heaped criticism onto the Department of Homeland Security and its grant program.  Then, in 2007, the Corn Palace received $25,000 in government funding for a camera system in advance of Barack Obama's visit in 2008 and to protect the fiberglass statue of the Corn Palace mascot, Cornelius.  Will wonders never cease?

This thing needs protecting?


  1. Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky! Had no idea ya'll were planning to stop at the corn palace! Were did you come up with Cornelius's name? We missed that one (wonder of wonders!) Like your pictures - that camera sure makes everything turn out clear and crisp. When we stopped there were so many people milling around that it was hard to get a good picture of things. Pretty interesting and I'll bet you're glad you stopped. Still like that hat!!! Landon says that you aren't keeping the sides turned up, are you? You just don't listen - his words, not mine!! Me

  2. I read an article that indicated the name "Cornelius" was "the fiberglass mascot" and that it was across the street from the Corn Palace. That's where this hideous thing was posted so I'm just assuming it is Cornelius.