At the corner of West Third Avenue and Rowley Street in Mitchell, South Dakota is a beautiful quartzite building. This 109-year old building once housed generations of knowledge and now preserves the memorabilia of the Corn Palace and the history and genealogy of the Mitchell area.
The handsome quartzite rock structure – only one of three such buildings left in Mitchell – dates from 1903 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Steel magnate Andrew Carnegie gave the City of Mitchell $12,000 for a library. Mitchell’s prominent contractor, A. J. Kings built it and his tools and toolbox are displayed at the Carnegie Resource Center (CRC). Also on display is a detailed four – foot to-scale model of the 1892 (the first) Corn Palace built by the grandson of A. J. Kings.
The huge dome of the CRC is adorned on its interior by the mural “Sun and Rain Clouds Over Hills”, by Oscar Howe, Yanktonai Sioux artist, who painted the mural in 1940 as a WPA project. From 1948 through 1971, Howe designed the mural panels for the Corn Palace. His original tempera or casein drawings can be seen at the CRC, the Dakota Discovery Museum, and in the Mitchell City Council Chambers.
In addition to the extensive print and photographic research material the CRC houses the Clyde and Mary Goin Corn Palace Collection that depicts the history of Mitchell’s three Corn Palaces. Signed glossy photos by many of the famous performers at the Corn Palace, among them Bob Hope and Red Skelton, are displayed along with countless items of Corn Palace memorabilia.
History and genealogy researchers will find the Carnegie Resource Center (CRC) a treasure trove of information about and photographs of families, businesses, and happenings in the area from Mitchell’s beginning along the James River as Firesteel in 1879. The all-volunteer staff welcomes visitors and will assist with researching collections of obituaries, city directories, and articles and photos in the many files. Mitchell’s school alumni are encouraged to schedule reunion programs at the CRC. Visitors can view diplomas, yearbooks, photos, and newspaper articles pertaining to the history of Mitchell’s public and parochial schools.
Organizations and families can also schedule social events and meetings at the CRC. Books , monographs, historic original postcards, CDs, and DVDs are available for purchase. Admission is free!