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The World's Only! Corn Palace

Posted by
Steve Rice (Olympia, United States) on 23 July 2010 in Documentary & Street and Portfolio.

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

PATRICK from miramas, France

wow splendid 5*****

23 Jul 2010 5:54am

Marie LC from France

A curiosity indeed, halfway between dream and reality. We would believe a palace of Walt Disney's cartoons

23 Jul 2010 5:55am

Jojigirl from Philippines

aha! so there, i've jumped a day ahead, what an amazing art the exterior of the palace has! i wish I can visit this place.

23 Jul 2010 6:03am

Paco Díaz from Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Absolutely amazing! Great document!

23 Jul 2010 6:14am

kate from lincolnshire, United Kingdom

super details that went into this intresting building! great shot!
the ethos I'd say is dont wait for splendor to come to you! be splendid!!

23 Jul 2010 6:30am

Florence from Paris, France

Like a big ballon somehow, reacdy too reach the sky... are you living in fantasy land as well ? :-)
Simply an incredible construction.

23 Jul 2010 7:22am

@Florence: Maybe, a bit of a fantasy. ;-)

k@ from Paris, France

I love you have this biker in the frame to give us the excellent scale, what a big cake this is, stunning & super frame, Steve !

23 Jul 2010 7:23am

Richard from Duns, United Kingdom

Amazing! Great shot, thanks for all the details too.

23 Jul 2010 7:43am

pixator from kerman, Iran


23 Jul 2010 7:50am

pixator from kerman, Iran


23 Jul 2010 7:50am

jpla from St Barthélémy d, France

Un palais ... doré ! je te souhaite une agréable journée

23 Jul 2010 8:37am

Michael from Chester, United Kingdom

It certainly is different, but is it weatherproof ? Wonderful sun-drenched shot.

23 Jul 2010 8:44am

@Michael: The decorations seemed to be in really good shape in spite of the harsh weather they have in the Dakotas. They need only last a year before being replaced.

Lorraine from Gatineau, Canada

Wow for the photo and story, isn't that something ...for once dedicated to a really good cause lol well done Steve, I'm looking forward to seeing to oddities around, makes life so much more fun :)

23 Jul 2010 9:13am

✿ Anina ✿ from Auckland, New Zealand

LoL!!! That a find! This is hilarious! I simply love the colours. Great perspective with the guy on the bike - shows how big the palace is. Thanks for the interesing info... it's amazing how something like this can bring a small town to life.

23 Jul 2010 9:51am

The MaJor from TM HooD, Iran

wow..really fantastic!!seems gonna be a very nice series!!

23 Jul 2010 11:34am

Daniel from Kenmare, United States


23 Jul 2010 12:12pm

JJ from Jersey City, United States

What a great shot and for sure this is an oddity, would love to see this sometime

23 Jul 2010 12:45pm

MARIANA from Waterloo, Canada

What a funny architecture . Looks like made of colorful paper !
Great capture !

23 Jul 2010 1:01pm

Amanda from Jersey City, United States

So strange and awesome--must be heaven for birds and other hungry animals! I love roadside oddities, and cant wait to see what you've found. Driving up north in Michigan growing up, we'd pass signs for "Prehistoric Forest", "Mystery Spot", etc. and I always wanted to stop. My mom never let us, claiming it was a waste of time and money. If I ever have kids, I'm stopping at all of them. :)

23 Jul 2010 1:25pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

I have seen this but your photo really does this palace additional justice - I sort of always chuckle when I see this place - I would love to visit it just from shear curiosity - excellent job Steve!

23 Jul 2010 2:45pm

don from spokane, United States

An amazing building with its design and high maintenance. The city is lucky to have something to draw in so many visitors.

23 Jul 2010 2:57pm

♏arleen from Netherlands

This could only be in The US....!!!:-)
A real curiosity, I wonder how many birds will be landing here.......;-)))

23 Jul 2010 3:01pm

B.Held from Santa Fe, United States

how cool!

23 Jul 2010 3:03pm

Michael Skorulski from Cigel, Slovakia

How unusual. what an amazing place you have given us today. A very enjoyable image, Steve.

23 Jul 2010 3:46pm

Krunal from Mumbai, India

quite an architecture

23 Jul 2010 4:10pm

Calusarus from St Sorlin en Valloire, France

An awesome castle

23 Jul 2010 4:17pm

Jason Kravitz from Brussels, Belgium

Fun series Steve

It is amazing to consider all the things we use corn for these days - we have become so efficient at farming corn that there is too much to eat (hence corn in paint, fuel, diapers, wallpaper, whiskey, batteries, textiles and even corn palaces !)

For a moment I thought you were on holiday to Arabia until I saw the description and the flag on top of the palace :)

23 Jul 2010 6:37pm

Wild Mustang Photography from Carlisle, United States

OMG Steve! We went their too! Isn't it cool! I love this! Beautiful color composition. I feel like I am there. This shot should be in a magazine!

23 Jul 2010 7:00pm

Yvon from Orleans, France

Terrefic shot

23 Jul 2010 7:18pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States


23 Jul 2010 7:27pm

António Pires from Lisbon, Portugal

Thanks for showing. And well shown, BTW.

23 Jul 2010 8:12pm

Phil David Alexander Morris from Canada

I think the real curiosity is the guy with a turban riding the bike in this picture. Kidding
aside it is a beautiful place and you got some great lighting for your picture. It is
amazing for a town to put so much back into the building like this, thank you for bringing
it back to our attention.

23 Jul 2010 8:12pm

Kiki from Ambert, France

We make both in the cereal today:))
We would believe a miniature palace for children if there was no cyclist !

23 Jul 2010 8:14pm

Daryl Johnson from Farnham, United Kingdom

It is pretty impressive.

23 Jul 2010 9:03pm

Othersideblue from Kerman, Iran


23 Jul 2010 11:40pm

Mahboubeh from Raleigh, United States

waw very nice colored and shaped ....Nice job man !

24 Jul 2010 12:30am

Steven from Chicagoland, United States

Seeing your series of B&W's and monochromes this past week helped emphasize the bold colors in this photo. Good decision to capture this from the corner of the palace as the sunlight really helps highlight the textures of the corn. And what a beautiful blue sky as a backdrop!

24 Jul 2010 2:16am

Diana from Olympia, United States

Stunning colors! Fantastic idea for a series.

24 Jul 2010 3:24am

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

odd place ! in french i would say : toute la démesure et l'excentricité des States :-) Do you mean the wall are made of grains of corn ?

24 Jul 2010 7:05am

@Veronique: The murals are made of ears of corn split in two and nailed to the walls. The areas around the murals are covered with grains and grasses. So, the walls are covered with plants that grow in South Dakota.

EstherK Borneo from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Love the information AND the photo!

24 Jul 2010 9:08am

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

See I could tell by looking at it that it was adorned by corn murals! That's just awesome.. didn't know there were so many colors. The fact they change it up yearly makes it worth visiting again too.

25 Jul 2010 9:02pm

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