19th century Sioux City Corn Palaces

KorbenDallas

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Well, this is a fun one. It looks like every year between 1887 and 1891, the citizens of the Sioux City, Iowa were building a new "Corn Palace". Every time the "Palace" was built at a different city location.

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Sioux City
The period from about 1880 to 1890 marked the most rapid and significant progress made thus far in Sioux City's development. In 1880 Sioux City had a population of 7,500.; in 1884, 15,514; in 1886, 22,358; in 1887, 30,842; and in 1890, 38,700.
From 1887 to 1891, Sioux Cityans celebrated the autumn harvest with a festival featuring the construction of a large building in downtown called a Corn Palace covered in corn and other grains. Besides having the distinction of constructing the “World’s First Corn Palace,” the festivals hosted well-known entertainers and even the sitting president of the United States. Although the festivals were short lived, they are still remembered because of the excellent print and photographic collections at the Sioux City Public Museum.

1887 Corn Palace
The Corn Place committee hired architect W.E. Loft to create the plans for the first corn palace structure. His original plan called for a building 58 feet by 58 feet to be built at the northwest corner of Fifth and Jackson Streets. However, planners soon decided to enlarge the building to 100 feet by 100 feet. It was again enlarged to include the Goldie Roller Rink. The final size of the corn palace encompassed more than 18,000 square feet of floor space.


The budget increased, too. Originally, the budget was just $5,000. However, it was soon clear that this would not be enough, and a finance committee was appointed to raise a total of $25,000. The work on the palace could then begin.

1888 Corn Palace
1888_corn_palace.jpg

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1889 Corn Palace
In order to further advertise Sioux City as the Corn Palace City, officials sponsored a special train "the Corn Palace Train" to make a tour of the eastern seaboard. The train was decorated much like the palaces themselves. It left Sioux City in the spring of 1889 with 135 good-will passengers. A band was on board to play rousing tunes along the way and help attract attention. The cost of the trip, including fares, decorations and everything else was about $20,000, paid for by businessmen of Sioux City. They all considered it a good investment.

iowa-corn-palace-1889.jpg

Read more: 1889 Corn Palace

1890 Corn Palace
The biggest palace yet, the 1890 Corn Palace featured a 200-foot main tower and six 100-foot towers. A huge dome, built as part of the largest tower, formed a giant globe with various countries mapped with grains of corn. Of course, Iowa faced front and center with Sioux City most prominently displayed.

One of the inside highlights, according to the Sioux City Journal, was a miniature valley, "and from far distant mountains clothed in pines came a stream of water, leaping over rocks, winding across a meadow, and falling into a lake below where palmettos were growing." The palace also had an auditorium that seated 1,200 people.

1891 Corn Palace
The 1891 Palace was so large that it spread across Pierce Street and featured a large archway that allowed traffic to pass though. The palace featured a balcony atop the main 200-foot tower. There, visitors could take in a magnificent view of the city and the surrounding three states.

Once again the spacious interior allowed space for concerts by nationally famous bands. (nationally famous bands in the 1890s)

Links and Sources:
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They had corn, coal, flax, blue grass, spring (you name it, they had it) palaces in the 19th century. I am not talking about the State of Iowa only. Many different states had those. This is on top of everything else. None of this information is hidden. I admit that I was ignorant to the fact, and for me it was something new.

These are not some marble and granite structures, but they still take time, materials and people to build. They require coordination to run. If we put all the achievements together, do we have enough people to accomplish all that? The sheer volumeof everything is just mind boggling. Yet, the overall population numbers remain the same.

POS supply for these events was enormous. Any related search produces medals, pubs, tokens, etc.

1890-sioux-city-corn-palace-iowa.jpg

Anyways, I just wanted to bring up one additional instance of info, which could be interesting for some.
 

SuperTrouper

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The 1890 and 1891 palaces, at least to me, have a very "Russian" look to them.
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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Somehow Children of the Corn came to mind.
  • The film is set in the fictional town of Gatlin, Nebraska, an agricultural community surrounded by huge cornfields. In 1980, the town appears to be neglected, except for the church, and residents choose Biblical names over more modern ones. When the corn crop fails one year, the townsfolk turn to prayer to ensure a successful harvest. However, 12-year-old Isaac Chroner takes all of the children in Gatlin into the cornfields and indoctrinates them into a religious cult based around a bloodthirsty deity called “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. Isaac and his subordinate, 18-year-old Malachi, lead the children in a revolution, murdering all of the adults (ages 19 and up, since 18-year-olds are seen as halfway between teenager and adult) in town as human sacrifices. Only Job and his sister, Sarah, refuse to participate, as they can see visions of the future, drawing them on paper.
 

madroona

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These stories seem like utter corn-shit to me. Raising this kind of money to "cover" buildings with produce as as silly a story as we could imagine a fiction author dreaming up. A minor thought: this screenshot shows the "date" on the corner of the building, and this makes little sense. Perhaps my dull mind simply cannot get what I am seeing?

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BStankman

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These stories seem like utter corn-shit to me. Raising this kind of money to "cover" buildings with produce as as silly a story as we could imagine a fiction author dreaming up. A minor thought: this screenshot shows the "date" on the corner of the building, and this makes little sense. Perhaps my dull mind simply cannot get what I am seeing?

View attachment 27002
According to this map, the French were in the area in 1687.

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According to the Lewis and Clark map of 1814, there are ancient fortifications along the river.
You can locate Sioux city by the Floyds river and Floyds grave.

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Schism

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I didn't see any point in creating a new thread for this - I just completed an ~8500 mile round trip across the lower 48 that lasted nearly ~2 months. On my way back, I pulled off the road to get a room in the town of Mitchell - South Dakota. I was reading the local attractions board in the lobby, and noticed "corn palace" on the map. I was like, lol!

I made a point to check it out the following morning before I left town. It looked to be a pretty cool piece of folk art and American history, and I doubt you all would be to impressed with the one I toured inside and out regarding its possible connection to our stolen history. That's not to say for certain, but that was my take on it anyway.

The only thing I found odd about the entire thing was some of the official narrative. To this day, Mitchell still claims to have the worlds only corn palace, and based on some quick research, it would seem that it was the first of its kind, and is obviously far from the only one. The one in Mitchell SD has been built and rebuilt several times. Seems the first structures were temporary, up to the construction of the one I visited 1919-1921.

Mitchell Corn Palace, SD | Official Website

The corn palace in Mitchell SD is a tourist attraction, and is likely a big part of the towns economy, specifically in the summer months. If anyone gets a chance to stop by one of these things, I encourage you to do so.

Thanks for sharing KD. I never would've stopped to check it out if I hadn't learned about them in this thread.
 

madroona

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According to this map, the French were in the area in 1687.​
I think most of us here are hip the the "i/j" in the dating of such things. This is not 1687 but an offset "I", and honestly I have a tough time seeing the three numbers at presented resolution.

One much bigger issue, even if 1687 of conventional dating, who the hell and how the hell would anyone, anywhere EVER be able to map out the entire continent as presented here. This simple issue should be enough to make *anyone* pull back and say "bullshit".
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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I think most of us here are hip the the "i/j" in the dating of such things. This is not 1687 but an offset "I", and honestly I have a tough time seeing the three numbers at presented resolution.

One much bigger issue, even if 1687 of conventional dating, who the hell and how the hell would anyone, anywhere EVER be able to map out the entire continent as presented here. This simple issue should be enough to make *anyone* pull back and say "bullshit".
Totally agree. What do you think about the Washington map here? If choose to answer please do it in the thread below.
 

Schism

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These stories seem like utter corn-shit to me. Raising this kind of money to "cover" buildings with produce as as silly a story as we could imagine a fiction author dreaming up.
I bought a rather spendy book on the history of the corn palace in Mitchell SD. It contains pictures of just about every single year since it's existence. I'm talking about pictures that go back in time to the original structure/s.

Believe it or not, they definitely redo the exteriors, rooftops etc, and do it very often. These days, in the town of Mitchell anyway, it seems they employ a couple handfuls of college students to do the entire redecorating of the exterior with many colors of corn. I was impressed.

The book is quite fascinating. When I look at the pre 1900 pictures and forward, the façade, architecture, deco, people, crowds, etc - it looks so much like a lot of other stuff that we observe here often.

There's many late 1800's - 1910ish pictures of the ones in Sioux City Iowa in the book I bought too. Those will make you think :unsure:
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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There's many late 1800's - 1910ish pictures of the ones in Sioux City Iowa in the book I bought too. Those will make you think.
Would definitely love to see those :) I don't know if I'm capable of thinking any longer though.
 

Schism

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Would definitely love to see those :) I don't know if I'm capable of thinking any longer though.
The pictures from Sioux City Iowa begin in 1887. It goes from looking kinda rough, to a gynormous masterpiece by 1890. The pictures from 1891 look like something out of Saudi Arabia, or related. Some styles almost look Russian, idk.

The book can be found here -

Mitchell's Corn Palace Historic Picture Book
 

madroona

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Totally agree. What do you think about the Washington map here? If choose to answer please do it in the thread below.
I did drop my thoughts there but will add here: the herculean effort to map out a land and the meandering shapes of the rivers, major and minor, to the extend shown in these early maps would require a level of coordination, and numbers of explorers all trained in such things, plus an administration required to collate the incoming data, so as to stagger the mind.

I have been calling bullshit on the old maps, in the context of how the unthinking mind of today imagines them. Absolutely NO WAY. The entire population would have had to be involved, all backpacking, portaging, drawing, protecting the drawings and notes, and THEN GETTING BACK TO MAP CENTRAL just to hand off their work, get their next assignment, then sleep a night, dance with a woman, re-stock supplies, get new help, grab new horses and canoes, and off again. ABSOLUTE RUBBISH.

We would have volumes and volumes of stories just on the mapping exploits alone.
 
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