The town of Mitchell is most noted for being home to the world’s only Corn Palace, which draws half a million visitors each year. Located on Interstate 90, Mitchell is the county seat of Davison County, South Dakota, and was home to nearly 15,000 permanent residents as of the 2000 census. The area that is now the city of Mitchell was originally settled in 1879 and was incorporated as a village two years later.
The famous Corn Palace was first established in 1892, when Mitchell was only a small city with 13,000 residents. Located on Main Street, the Palace is comprised primarily of unique corn murals and was built as a symbolic illustration of the city’s thriving agricultural sector. 500,000 tourists flock to the Corn Palace each year to view and tour the distinctive attraction. Each year, the annual Corn Palace Music Festival boasts performances by several high-profile international musicians. The Victorian home of the founders of the Corn Palace, Louis and Mary Beckwith, can be explored by tourists at the Dakota Discovery Museum.
Another notable site is marked by the Mitchell Prehistoric Village and Thomsen Center Archeodome, which indicates the location of the first farmers and hunters that settled along the banks of what is now Lake Mitchell. This historic landmark gives visitors a glimpse into the city’s primitive archeological discoveries and the activities of these earliest inhabitants.
For those seeking a rich cultural experience, the Dakota Discovery Museum offers glimpses into some of the state’s most notable expeditions, explorations, and artistic works. Visitors can view a gallery by noted South Dakotan artist Oscar Howe, and can tour a reproduction of illustrator Charles Hargens’ studio. Additional exhibits detail Lewis and Clark’s expeditions across the Dakotas, the lives of early Native Americans, and primitive schoolhouses of the pioneers.
Mitchell is home to the Dakota Wesleyan University campus, whose high-quality educational programs and noted George McGovern Library attract many ambitious students each year. The city offers plentiful shopping and dining opportunities along Main Street, such as the Big Steak House & Lounge, Dakota Roadhouse, Cornerstone Coffeehouse & Deli, and Cabela’s. The Enchanted World Doll Museum captivates children and adults alike.