In 1892 Mitchell, SD was a small, 12-year-old city of 3,000 inhabitants. In order to compete with neighboring Plankinton’s Grain Palace, Mitchell built the World’s Only Corn Palace on the city’s Main Street. By 1905 the success of the Corn Palace had been assured and a new Palace was to be built, but this building soon became too small. In 1919, the decision to build a third Corn Palace was made. This one was to be permanent and more purposeful than its predecessors. The present building was completed in 1921, just in time for the Corn Palace festivities.
The Palace is redecorated each year with naturally colored corn and other grains and native grasses to make it “the agricultural show-place of the world”. They currently use 12 different shades of corn to decorate the Corn Palace: red, brown, black, blue, white, orange, calico, yellow and green corn! A different theme is chosen each year, and murals are designed to reflect that theme. Ear by ear the corn is nailed to the Corn Palace to create a scene.