The Corn Palace. Made of Corn. Okay, not TOTALLY. And we’d actually decided to stay in Mitchell, SD, before we realized it’s the hometown of the Famous Corn Palace. So of course we had to go see it. Okay, I wanted to see it. Bob could have passed on it, but we like to do things together so we both went.
Once upon a time, there was a building in Mitchell. The story goes that early settlers “displayed their agricultural bounty on the building’s exterior to prove the fertility of the region’s soil.” Now the building displays murals on the walls, all made of corn.
We bought popcorn balls, which we were told were the best you could ever find, anywhere, and they were okay, but the sugar rush meant we collapsed and lost about three hours in deep sleep after consuming them. So if you’re having trouble with insomnia, I can highly recommend the Corn Palace popcorn balls!
If we had just cruised through town or stayed one night in order to see the Corn Palace, we would have missed what’s best about Mitchell. Tucked away on the far end of town are a couple of wonderful treasures.
The Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village is a working archeological site (though it looked like a display to us, the employees there assured us that it’s worked every summer by students who come over from a school in England). Housed inside the Thomsen Center Archeodome (one of just three archeodomes in the world), the site is ringed by a viewing ramp so you can see the 1000 year-old village being excavated, whatever the weather outside might be.
Inside the visitors center is a replica of an earth lodge that you can walk through, giving you a real-world idea of space and dimension. A model shows the village site. And of course, there’s a gift shop and small gallery. If you’re intrigued — as I am — with ancient Native American sites, this is well worth the visit and admission fee.
Also on the edge of town you’ll find Lake Mitchell. Despite a few clouds the day we were there, the lake was serene. The only other people there were a couple of boys who were fishing from the bank. Ah! Nice spot for a picnic!