In the fall, my upright and I perform our Harvest Tales which are full of scarecrows, crows, and corn palaces. Yep it’s true, palaces made out of CORN.
In Sioux City, IA in 1887, the very first Corn Palace was constructed. It was large enough to contain a roller rink inside. The residents of Sioux City held costume balls in which the participants dressed as Scarecrows. You might think this sounds a little corny, but they decorated the structure with corn on the outside and the inside. The structure was constructed from wood, then they split field corn, maize, and other Indian corn in half. They nailed the cob to the wood. On the inside, the Ladies Auxiliary Club of Sioux City would use corn kernels to create mosaics depicting nature scenes or other interesting things. Sorghum, wheat, and even carrots were also used to decorate the interior.
The largest Corn Palace was in 1891 This Corn Palace was so large that it spread across Pierce Street and featured a large archway that allowed traffic to pass though. A balcony atop the main 200-foot tower allowed visitors to take in a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding three states. Concerts were held in the spacious interior.
Sadly, after the Great Flood of 1892, Sioux City never built another Corn Palace. When the residents of Mitchell, SD heard that Sioux City was not able to build another Corn Palace, they decided to build one of their own. They have featured a corn palace now for over 120 years. Their slogan reads, “The World’s only Corn Palace!”
If you’re interested in learning more about corn palaces and seeing some mighty interesting pictures, check out the following links:
Sometimes I dream about Corn Palaces. In my dream, I’m dressed as a scarecrow and I’m waltzing to a live band. The song is about corn and is titled “Corn is King!” (Which was a song written by J.G. Smith to commemorate the very first Corn Palace.) As I twirl around the wooden floor, I glimpse something with sharp teeth, beady black eyes, and a long slick tail. At first I think it might be Kitty (I think everything is a Kitty at first), but I soon realize that this is worse than Kitty. A rat has entered the ballroom and is proceeding to eat the beautiful corn mural of Romeo and Juliet. I leap across the floor to stop him, only to discover that he has hundreds of friends. They use their sharp claws and teeth to tear down the corn palace. As the palace crashes around me, I rush outside only to discover flocks of crows circling the palace. (Did you know that large flocks of crows are called murders? Neither did I!) A murder of crows blackens the sky until the sun is blotted out! I usually wake up right about now. I jump in bed with my upright and force her to pet me until the images of fiendish rats and murderous crows dissolve.
But my dream is partly true. The Corn Palaces in Sioux City did attract large numbers of crows, rats, and other birds. Mitchell, SD likes to say that their Corn Palace is the largest bird feeder in the United States!