Corn Palace and County Road Driving

Corn Palace and Country Road Driving

Where do our travels bring us today?  The town of Mitchell, South Dakota to the Corn Palace and county road driving. Searching for old homes on county roads along the route.  At our last stop a lady talked my husband’s ear off and said we HAD to see the Corn Palace.

If someone tells you that you HAVE to see something, there is usually a good reason behind it. That is what we will do. Punched it into the GPS and headed out.

Traveling the Backroads in South Dakota

My husband was obliging and traveled many of the back country roads instead of the main highway to Mitchel. Hoping to find me old homesteads and barns


Backroads in South Dakota old house

Click on any photo to see a larger version or to purchase a print.

We had some luck!


One of my favorite old homesteads had this cool windmill. The wind was strong and I took this video because I couldn’t put into words the beauty and sadness of the land. The only two items on this stretch of land. Someone’s hopes and dreams were on this land.  Now, all that is left is very ghostly.


hopes and dreams were on this land. Now, all that is left is very ghostly.



Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

We arrived at the corn palace and we didn’t have a clue what we were looking at.  I grew up with family members in the farming trade.  Farming I understood.  This building and it’s purpose baffled me.  I looked at my husband and daughter after walking around and asked for their thoughts.  Both agreed.  They didn’t understand.


Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota

It wasn’t as if there is any direction when you walk in.  It is assumed since you found the building, you know it.  There you have it, three Cheeseheads walking around a corn building, lost.


Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota


That was until an announcement of a movie about the history of The Corn Palace was starting in a few minutes.  We made our way back to the viewing area.  As the movie played, Ah. The lightbulbs went off.  I understand.  The old farmers were marketing geniuses before the times.


Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota


They built the first building in 1892. In 1905 they rebuilt a second building and then again in 1921.  The 1921 building is still standing.  Each rebuild they rebuilt to increase the size of the building.


Inside the Corn Palace

If you don’t know why it was built either, allow me to explain. The building was built to show the fertility of South Dakota soil and hosts a large, well known musical act every year.  Attracting visitors to an area that might be generally be bypassed. Marketing the area.  Bringing economic stability.  Celebrating their bountiful crops.


Corn Palace, Mitchell, South Dakota


The exterior corn murals are replaced and redesigned each year with a new theme. The designs are created by local artists. The murals are seed pictures, or Crop art.  They are made from multi-colored ears of corn  To me, they look like a version of pointillism.

Anyway.  That was a quick history.  It made perfect sense.  Without a basic understanding going into this building, you are lost.  Not sure how I missed knowing about this building all my life, but I did.  My husband did.  Our college aged daughter did.

It was an interesting day. The Corn Palace and county road driving both held history that unfolded for us on our travels. 


Additional Posts From The Trip

Day 1 – Sioux Falls, 1880 Town, Kimball, SD
Day 2 – Cottonwood, Badlands NP & Wall
Day 3 – Custer State Park and Needles Highway
Day 4 – UTV Adventure In The Black Hills
Day 5 – Deadwood & Sturgis

Day 6 – Spearfish Canyon and Pactola Lake
Day 7 – More Custer State Park & Wind Cave NP
Day 8 – You are here.
Day 9 – Palisades State Park South Dakota

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