Whole-kernel cornicesThe Corn Palace, Mitchell, SD

Corn Palace sketch by Chandler O'Leary

Now, there are roadside attractions, and there are roadside attractions. Much as I love a good giant fiberglass animal, the Corn Palace belongs in the elite upper crust of roadside gems.

For one thing, the hand-pieced corn mosaic on the façade changes every year. That is a labor of love, people. For another, the folks who built the place were incredibly gutsy—in 1904, the town of Mitchell launched a campaign to replace Pierre as the capital of South Dakota. Can you just imagine the Corn Palace as the capitol building? I mean, no disrespect to Pierre or anything, but somehow a crop-adorned government building just seems fitting. (Not even my beloved Minnesota State Fair could come up with something that perfect.) Oh, if only I ran the world.

Hey, maybe it’s not too late to get the question on the ballot in November…

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