spotlight / Famous Properties
By Diana Mirel STAND TALL IN SOUTH DAKOTA The Corn Palace in Mitchell is a local treasure that celebrates the region
South Dakota is a small state with a large history. Nowhere is that history more prominent than in Mitchell, a town that 120 years ago decided to celebrate its assets in grand style. Looking to build a landmark to act as a community center, the town’s visionaries
expanded and created a venue for artists, athletes and entertainers who still
use it to this day—the Corn Palace.
“The whole idea to build the Corn Palace started because the early settlers
of Mitchell wanted to put the town on the map,” says Mark Schilling, Director of the Corn Palace.
Built in 1892, the Corn Palace was an instant hit and soon became the
symbol of Mitchell. When the town wanted to become the new capital of
South Dakota over Pierre, civic leaders thought a new and improved Corn
Palace would give them an edge. While Mitchell was ultimately unsuccessful in its bid to become the state capital, the Corn Palace continued to be a
focal point for the town. Soon, town leaders recognized the need for a larger
facility to meet growing community demands—as well as increasing tourist
traffic. Once again, the Corn Palace was rebuilt in 1921, and this structure
continues to serve as the Corn Palace today.
Designed by Rapp and Rapp, an architectural firm from Chicago, the
Corn Palace was designed as an entertainment venue for the community, as
well as a tribute to the region’s rich agricultural roots. The new Corn Palace
originally had a sleek, modern architectural style that was gaining popular-
ity nationwide. However, in 1937, Corn Palace leaders wanted the palace
to stand out and opted to capitalize
on its name by adding large Moor-
ish domes, minarets and an array of
flags. “They wanted it to look more
like an actual palace,” says Schilling.