The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

On our way to Yellowstone this summer, I really, really wanted to check out the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. As it worked out, we stopped by just as the sun was starting to rise, so we weren’t able to go inside but got to check out the exterior in really unusual light.

I’d expected the entire structure to be built out of corn, which isn’t exactly the case: it’s decorated with corn, grains and grasses. Okay, good enough! Since 1892, the palace has been rebuilt several times, and the current building is the work of Rapp & Rapp [the architectural firm behind the famous Chicago Theater], with the later addition of ornate onion domes and Moorish minarets.

Here’s a detail of the crop art, which is redesigned each year by local artists:

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

The theme for this year was “We Celebrate” and remained on the building until the annual Corn Palace Festival in August. In October, the murals were replaced with the 2014 theme of “Remember When.” These are some of the 2013 murals:

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

Each year, more than 275,000 ears of corn as well as different kinds of grasses and grains are used to create these murals. The corn is grown from special seed raised just for the Corn Palace. Each color is planted in a separate field to maintain the color differences needed to create the artwork.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

Aside from the folk art which is a major tourist draw, the Corn Palace is also a multi-use community center hosting a variety of events year-round.

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5 thoughts on “The Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD

  1. I don’t think it was covered, but it’s probably been remodeled a few times since I was there last.
    I wonder what the politics is like to get an outdoor panel.

  2. I’d imagine that these panels are the biggest public art opportunity available in Mitchell, but who knows?

    This place, at least the exterior, is interesting, although not what I’d imagined — back in college, a friend visited and, from his description, I really expected a building made out of corn, literally a crazy feat of structural engineering. Oh, well…

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