Wednesday June 15
We didn’t get off as early as we’d hoped, as Laura wasn’t feeling well, with a sore throat. She took a Covid test, but it came back negative, so we continued with our journey to South Dakota. Our plan had been to stop for a break and a wander around the town of Stillwater Minnesota, which sits on the St. Croix River, marking the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota, and had been recommended to Laura by one of her colleagues. Unfortunately, however, at this point in the day it was quite cool and raining, so we stopped for a coffee, but continued on our way across Minnesota and into South Dakota, where we were staying the night in Mitchell. During the course of the afternoon, the clouds broke up, and the sun came out, making for a lovely evening. When we reached our hotel, Laura went to lie down for a bit, while Roger and I drove the short distance to Mitchell’s main claim to fame, the Corn Palace, a multi purpose arena/facility, designed in a Moorish style, and decorated with “crop art”. The murals and designs covering the faces of the building are made from corn and other grains, and a new design is created each year. The 2022 theme is Under the Big Top.
In the late 19th century, a number of cities on the Great Plains constructed “crop palaces” (also known as “grain palaces” to promote themselves and their products. As the idea succeeded, it spread - for example Sioux City Iowa, Gregory, South Dakota and Creston Iowa. From 1887 to 1930 at least thirty four corn palaces were built across the Midwest, but only the Mitchell Corn Palace still continues. The current building dates back to 1921, with the Russian-style onion domes and Moorish minarets added in 1937.