The Corn Palace is a multi-purpose arena/facility located in Mitchell, South Dakota. It is a popular tourist destination, visited by over 500,000 people each year. The Moorish Revival building is decorated with murals and designs made from corn and other grains. It also hosts the home basketball games of Dakota Wesleyan University and the Mitchell High School Kernels.
The exterior corn murals are replaced and redesigned each year with a new theme. The designs are created by local artists. From 1948 to 1971, the artist Oscar Howe designed the panels. Calvin Schultz designed the murals from 1977 to 2002. Since 2003, the murals have been designed by Cherie Ramsdell. No new mural was created in 2006 due to an extreme drought. It costs about $150,000 annually to decorate the Palace.
The original Mitchell Corn Palace (known as "The Corn Belt Exposition") was built in 1892 to showcase the rich soil of South Dakota and encourage people to settle in the area. It was a wooden castle structure on Mitchell's Main Street, built on land donated by Louis Beckwith, a member of the First Corn Palace Committee. In 1904–1905, the city of Mitchell mounted a challenge to the city of Pierre in an unsuccessful attempt to replace it as the state capital of South Dakota. As part of this effort, the Corn Palace was rebuilt in 1905. In 1921, the Corn Palace was rebuilt once again, with a design by the architectural firm Rapp and Rapp of Chicago. Russian-style onion domes and Moorish minarets were added in 1937, giving the Palace the distinctive appearance that it has today
The Corn Palace has one more title - the World's Largest Bird Feeder. After Corn Palace Week ends and winter sets it, local pigeons and squirrels make a feast of the tasty murals.
Mitchell is best known as the home of the World's Only Corn Palace (World's Largest Bird Feeder), yet many don't realize the Palace truly stands for innovation, enterprise, pride, and community. In addition to the World's Only Corn Palace, the charming South Dakota town can also offer some other great attractions. The Prehistoric Indian Village, Dakota Discovery Museum, McGovern Legacy Museum, and Carnegie Resource Center await you with stories to tell and experiences to share. When it comes to shopping, Mitchell offers unique specialty shops, ranging from antiques to artwork, souvenirs to western wear, candy to crafts, quilting to gifts. Outdoor enthusiasts will find a broad array of fishing, golf and camping opportunities, including those along the shores of Lake Mitchell.