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Corn Built

December 2023
1min read

In 1892 a couple of local boosters, Louis Beckwith and L. O. Gale, decided to build an exposition hall in the fast-growing town of Mitchell, South Dakota. Their purpose was to “provide a place for the display of products of the rich Dakota soil.” They were ingenious men, and they devised an ingenious plan for displaying the region’s prime crop: they would make the building out of it. The hall, with its fairy-tale façade totally encrusted with corn, was such a hit that it had to be rebuilt larger in 1905, and again larger (and more fireproof) in 1921. Each summer now, the Corn Palace is redecorated, requiring two to three thousand bushels of corn, grain, and grasses—in their natural colors—and dozens of workmen, such as those at right, who apply the materials in elaborate patterns to wooden panels. More than half a million people visit the splendid structure every year.

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