Today begins a new occasional series, Roadside Oddities. It will be a collection of curiosities I find along the road.
We begin with The World's Only! Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota, USA. The original Corn Palace was built in 1892 and was modeled on one in Sioux City, IA that operated from 1887-91. The one today, the third rebuild, was completed in 1921 with the Moorish domes and minarets being added in 1937 to better resemble the original structure. The inside of the building is a large auditorium for sporting events, concerts, etc.
It's the exterior of the Palace that gets the attention with its murals made of corn, other grains, and grasses grown in South Dakota. They now use 13 naturally occurring colors of corn in the process. The ears are split in two lengthwise and nailed into place. A new theme is chosen each year and new murals designed around that theme. The 2010 theme is "Through the Ages" and depicts how transportation has changed over time. It costs $130,00 each year to decorate the Corn Palace.
The payoff for all this effort is the 500,000 tourists each year who visit this town of about 15,000 residents. It got me there! The owner of the restaurant where I had lunch confirmed that the Corn Palace draws lots of visitors.
Part of the Roadside Oddities Series