Pipestone National Monument and Corn Palace

Trip Start May 09, 2009
Trip End May 27, 2010

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Flag of United States  , South Dakota
Friday, May 29, 2009

The big ticket items on this trip will be National Parks, but along the way we hope to see some other Americana that may be smaller in scale but just as enlightening (or at least entertaining!). Such was the case in traveling through Minnesota and South Dakota.

We stayed in Adrian MN a short drive away from Pipestone National Monument. Pipestone is a special red granite that is hand-quarried by local Native Americans for – you guessed it – Native American ceremonial pipes. A short self-guided trail took us around the quarries, but unfortunately it was too early in the year to see any quarrying going on. It’s extremely hard work and the craft of making the pipes has been passed down for generations. I bought my first souvenir – earrings made from pipestone (being on the road has not stopped me loving jewelry even if I don’t wear it as much!!). 

Pipestone was also used for the buildings in Pipestone MN. 
One building had interesting faces that we were told were gargoyles - more like cartoon versions than the gargoyles we saw on the Duomos in Italy.

We also made a detour to see the Corn Palace in Mitchell SD. If you have traveled to the Badlands or Black Hills, you may have seen this unusual slice of Americana. The Corn Palace was built in 1892 as a corn exhibition hall. The exterior walls are decorated in murals completed using local corn. They are stripped down and new murals are created every year.

When we traveled through here 5 years ago, the theme was the Lewis & Clark Expedition. This year’s theme is “America’s Destinations” with scenes of Washington D.C., Statue of Liberty, Space Needle in Seattle, Golden Gate Bridge, St. Louis Arch, Alamo and Davy Crockett, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Kennedy Space Center, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and (of course!) the Corn Palace. Not exactly on par with the murals we saw in Italy but interesting in its own bizarre way!!
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