A Little Time and a Keyboard: Evening Views of the World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Evening Views of the World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

Evening Views of the World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

Evening Views of the World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota

As a gift for my eighth grade graduation, my grandparents took me on a trip from Wisconsin to the Black Hills of South Dakota. On the way, we stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota. By a stroke of fate, we found ourselves in South Dakota after rerouting a trip several times this summer. So, we had to visit the Corn Palace again for my grandfather!

Spectacular Corn Palace lit up at night highlighting the structure's murals.
Spectacular Corn Palace lit up at night highlighting the structure's murals.

What is a Corn Palace:

What is a Corn Palace, you may say. Constructed in 1892, the Corn Palace served to display the wealth of crops of South Dakota indicating the richness of the soil to entice more to settle in the state. The spectacular murals are crafted with corn and other grains and grasses of South Dakota. Each mural exhibits quite an intricate design. Each year brings new designs.

Intricate murals adorning the Corn Palace fabricated from South Dakota crops.
Intricate murals adorning the Corn Palace fabricated from South Dakota crops

The Corn Palace has long served as a community gathering spot and as a spot where city dwellers and rural neighbors could celebrate the harvest. The annual Corn Palace Festival continues to this day. Additionally, the Corn Palace has served as an arena for a variety of events including concerts, sporting events, proms and more.

Mount Rushmore mural dazzles on the Corn Palace.
Mount Rushmore mural dazzles.

The creation of the celebrated murals starts each year in May when the rye and dock are removed. The corn murals are then removed towards the end of August. The new murals are normally in place by the first of October. The ears of corn are stapled into place individually and feature natural colors. Amazingly the designs incorporate 12 different natural colors or shades of corn cobs including red, brown, blue, black, white, orange, calico, yellow and green. Dates of completion may flex based on the growing season. Currently, there are new murals going up and it is November. The theme for 2020 was "South Dakota: Stay Here Play Here." So, the murals reflected life in South Dakota including one of Mount Rushmore.

Each mural charms with such intricate designs! My favorite during this visit depicted Chief Crazy Horse. The mural powerfully displays the chief especially with the highlights of the night lights.  The Chief Crazy Horse mural's positioning on the front of the Corn Palace giving a further highlighted position.

Tractor fun inside of the Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
Tractor fun inside of the Corn Palace!

Adventure Inside the Corn Palace

Inside of the Corn Palace, we found some exhibits about the history of the Corn Palace and agriculture in South Dakota. Upstairs, there is a viewing deck where you can take a peek at Mitchell. During our brief visit, the arena area was filled with a souvenir shop. However, we did get an appreciation for what it is like to play in a game there. Additionally, the Corn Palace has hosted concerts featuring Willie Nelson, Pat Benatar, Clint Black, Blake Shelton and more.

Basketball Tournaments are played in the arena at the Corn Palace.
Basketball Tournaments are played in the arena at the Corn Palace.

The current Corn Palace actually represents the third Corn Palace on the site. There were other Corn Palaces in the region, however this is the only one that still exists today. The Corn Palace became so popular that it had to be expanded. Annually, the Corn Palace attracts 500,000 visitors. Being so popular, the iconic spot does need the extra room! The decorative features including the murals, minarets and more beckon a visit when near Mitchell!

The Corn Palace delights at night!

My grandfather was absolutely thrilled to learn that I visited at night. I had visited with my grandparents during the day, so my grandfather was curious of what I thought about it at night. "Beautiful," I told him, "It was so beautiful." I am glad we were able to visit and I was able to tell my grandfather I returned. The Corn Palace is a fun little spot to visit on a South Dakota trip. Plus, it is free -- so how can you miss it?


Evening Views of the World's Only Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota


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