Through S. Dakota – Chamberlain and Mitchell

Mitchell, SD

After a busy stay in the Black Hills area we headed east through South Dakota along I-90.  Our first stop was near Chamberlain for a couple of nights along the Missouri River in the Cedar Shores Campground.

After spending a quiet day along the river we continued our journey to the east.  The next stop was only for a night, so we parked in the Cabela’s  RV lot in the town of Mitchell.   It is always amazing to us how people chose where to park in a wide open lot.  Cabela’s has a large RV parking area just behind the Mitchell store.  We arrived early in the afternoon to find the lot empty, so we selected a spot for the motorhome along side of a grassy area and drove off in the Jeep to visit a couple of spots of interest to us in the area.

When we returned, the parking area was still empty except for one additional motorhome.  Guess where they parked.

There were two sites we wanted to visit in this area.  The first was the Mitchell Prehistoric Indian Village.  The site contains two buildings, the  Boehnen Memorial Museum and the Thomsen Center Archeodome.

The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964 as it contains the remains of what was once a village made of lodges surrounded by palisades dating back a thousand years.  The Boehnen Memorial Museum features a reconstructed lodge and many of the artifacts found at the site.

The Thomsen Center Acheodome is built over a large area of excavation which is part of the ancient village.  Each summer students from the University of Exeter in England and Augustana University in Sioux Falls come to the site for a Summer Archaeology Field School to continue excavations of the site.

The students had just concluded their experience for this summer early in the day of our visit.  The items uncovered by their efforts will now be cleaned and analyzed in the adjacent labs.

A midden is a refuse site for the village

The next stop in our brief visit to Mitchell was to the world famous Corn Palace.  What’s that you say?  You have never heard of the Corn Palace?  Between 200,000 and 500,000 people visit it every year so somebody has heard of it!  So exactly what is the Corn Palace, you ask?  The Corn Palace, is a multi-purpose arena/facility that serves the community as a venue for concerts, sports events, exhibits and other community events.   The Moorish Revival building is decorated with crop art; the murals and designs covering the building are made from corn and other grains, with a new design constructed each year.

This year’s theme is “Rock of Ages” and Willie Nelson has played the Corn Palace

Next up is a visit to Sioux Falls, SD.  More on that later . . .

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25 Responses to Through S. Dakota – Chamberlain and Mitchell

  1. Gay says:

    Corn Palace is amazing!
    And the archeological sight is interesting…love exploring those places.
    Safe travels…..happy birthday John!

  2. heyduke50 says:

    it must be your magnetic personality that made them park so close to you two 😉

  3. geogypsy2u says:

    Some RVers just don’t get it. I have heard of the Corn Palace but it wasn’t on my list. I am fascinated by all things archeological.

  4. Jodee Gravel says:

    We had one of those cozy campers in Santa Rosa – so weird! Love the archaeology site. That is quite the permanent structure!! I’ve seen some corny tourist spots before, but………(had to). Happy Birthday John!!

  5. LuAnn says:

    I have heard of the Corn Palace but don’t know if I would make a special trip to visit, however, the Archedome sounds interesting.

  6. Marsha Weaver says:

    We thought it was a bit “corny” but we visited the Cor Palace too. It actually turned out to be pretty cool. This year’s theme is pretty cool.

  7. Larry says:

    We;ve driven west on I-90 a couple of times but have never stopped at the corn palace or Chamberlain but I do like the view of the river from the hill above town.

  8. Jim and Barb says:

    We have been through that area many times on our way across the state. Isn’t the Corn Palace
    An interesting yet bizarre attraction?

  9. Sherry says:

    WOW Willie in grain. It really is amazing that they do this every year. Love your site on the water. We visited a mammoth site where the dig was under roof. Really does protect the site. I’ve put those two on my list. Thanks for sharing them with me. They look very interesting. We’ve had the same experience, a whole parking lot and they park right next to us. Maybe they think we’re all supposed to be in a row. Who knows.

  10. Debbie L says:

    The corn palace made me hungry-and it’s early in the morning! Lol
    So funny about Cabbala’s parking-maybe they thought you’d shade them?
    We’ve always parked our car (or previously truck) on the outer edges of parking lots-no one even close to us. Only to return and not see our vehicle because so many others joined us. Uncanny.
    Nice post. I feel rested after reading this one!

  11. Laurel says:

    I don’t think your RV “neighbors” could have parked any closer! Some people don’t have a very good sense of personal space. That’s a pretty amazing portrait of Willie Nelson made from grain. I remember seeing the Corn Palace many years ago on a drive by—but I don’t think the theme was anywhere near as interesting.

  12. Thanks for visiting the Corn Palace for us, and taking great photos. It was out of our way when we were in SD last year.

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