We made a stop at Mitchell, SD to see the world’s only Corn Palace. During the period leading up to statehood, Mitchell was competing with several other locations to become the state capital. In these more simple times, the idea prevailed that a corn palace would bring attention and increased visitors to the city. While the Corn Palace was a big success, it did not succeed in bringing the capital to town.
Over the years, the palace was found to be too small and the current palace is the third one to be built. The big event each year is the corn festival in August. The rest of the year it is used for many different functions. We arrived as they were completing the final changes to the annual decorating of the palace with new decorations made from corn and other agricultural products.
We have spent a good deal of time on our western trip studying the history of the native tribes and their interaction with the European settlers. Mitchell has a unique site of a prehistoric village that is slowly being explored and studied at the Mitchell Indian village complex. You can learn about how these people came to be here and how they lived in a mud hut village around the year 1000AD. Considering its proximity to the Corn Palace it is very interesting to learn how important corn was to this village.