The Corn Palace
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The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota is also commonly known as the World's Only Corn Palace and the Mitchell Corn Palace. The building is a multi-purpose arena that is decorated with crop art murals covering the building made up of corn and other grains. Along with a new mural being added every year, The Corn Palace is a tourist destination that is visited by up to 500,000 people every year. The Corn Palace houses many different things every year like concerts, sports events, exhibits, and other community events. The building is celebrated every year with a citywide festival that is held at harvest time or at the end of August.
Backstory and Context
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The Corn Palace we see today was built in 1921 to replace the second Corn Palace that was built in 1905 that replaced the original Corn Palace from 1892. It is a unique Moorish structure .The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village preserves the site of a 1,000-year-old Native American village that includes artifacts and an earth lodge used for reproduction purposes. Starting in the late 19th century, a number of cities in the Great Plains started constructing "corn" or "grain palaces" to promote the cities and their products. From 1887 to 1930, around 34 corn palaces were built across the Midwest United States; the only one that remains is the Mitchell Corn Palace.
The original Mitchell Corn Palace, The Corn Belt Expansion, was built in 1892 to showcase how rich the soil was in South Dakota to encourage people to settle there. The building was a large wooden castle right on Main Street on land donated by First Corn Palace Committee member Louis Beckwith. In 1904-1905, the city of Mitchell posed a challenge to the city of Pierre in an attempt to have the Corn Palace replace Pierre of the state capitol of South Dakota. Part of the effort was to rebuild the Corn Palace in 1905. The Corn Palace was rebuilt once again in 1921 with Russian Style onion domes and Moorish minarets added in 1937.
In 2004, the Corn Palace got national media attention by receiving funding from Homeland Security. The attention drew criticism from the Department of Homeland Security and the grant program. But the Corn Palace ended up receiving $25,000 in DHS funding for a camera system for President Obama's visit in 2008 and to protect a new fiberglass statue of the Corn Palace mascot "Cornelius" in 2009.
- “Corn Palace.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Nov. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Palace.
- “Mitchell.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/place/Mitchell-South-Dakota.