If you were a new town in the 1890s, how would you prove to the rest of the country that you had a robust agricultural economy? By building a giant corn palace, of course. At least, that’s what the residents of Mitchel, South Dakota did! Now, over 100 years later, millions of tourists flock to this quirky landmark.
Sure, South Dakota is better known for Mt. Rushmore, but the corn palace is actually 35 years older than the famous mountain. Plus, the corn palace was still the number one tourist attraction in the state over three decades after Mt. Rushmore was carved.
Part of what draws people into the corn palace (other than as a pitstop on the way to Mt. Rushmore) are the intricate murals all around the structure. These murals are done by local artists and they are made from different colored kernels of corn as well as other grain crops. The murals are taken down every August, and new ones are put up by October. So you’ll have to come back every year to see what’s new!
The corn palace isn’t all art and nostalgia. Inside this impressive and unusual structure is an auditorium and basketball court. The local high school has all of its basketball games inside the corn palace as well as the prom. Other community events take place in the auditorium. The corn palace made USA Today’s bucket list of places for high school players to have a game.
So, next time you’re in the heartland and looking for a campy little slice of Americana, remember to check out the corn palace in Mitchel, South Dakota!