Would you like to see a palace decorated with corn? If the idea of seeing a massive piece of art that changes every year peaks your interest, the Corn Palace would be a perfect destination for you. The Corn Palace was created to prove that South Dakota had a healthy agriculture climate. The current Corn Palace was built in 1921 and is decorated with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to illustrate their agricultural prowess. The Corn Palace is a magnificent architectural and artistic feat which changes every year. How many other buildings can claim that?
The Corn Palace is open year-round and is FREE to visit.
Backstory and Context
The original Corn Palace, also known as the Corn Belt Exposition, was built in 1892 to illustrate the agricultural viability of South Dakota. Farmers would display the fruits of their labor on the outside of the building to prove that viability. Due to the success of the original Corn Palace a second one was built but it quickly became obvious that with the success of the building it was too small so a third one was built. The third Corn Palace was completed in 1921 and it is the site of the current Corn Palace. During the 1930s steps were taken to give the newest Corn Palace physical characteristics similar to the original.
Each year a committee will choose a theme and the Corn Palace will be decorated with that theme in mind. Murals will be designed based on the theme and naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses are used to create the artistic works on the outside of the building. Thirteen different shades of corn are used during this process: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange, calico, yellow and green are among the colors. Over 275,000 ears of corn are used each year in the redecoration of the Corn Palace.
If you are interested in seeing the evolution of the Corn Palace over the years you are in luck. If you go inside of the building, they have pictures from most of the prior decorations that have adorned the Corn Palace. They also have a video that explains the history of the Corn Palace. It is not just a site for art and history, the Corn Palace is also a multi-use center for the community.