Heading Home

While heading home from Badlands NP we stopped to see the following sights:
  • The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota
  • Winnebago Motorhome Factory Tour in Forest City, Iowa
  • Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan
  • Hollywood Casino in Joliet, Illinois
  • Michiganís little Bavaria in Frankenmuth, Michigan
  • Fordís Rouge (F150 Truck) Factory Tour and Fordís Museum in Dearborn, MI.
The Corn Palace
The original Mitchell Corn Palace (known as "The Corn Belt Exposition") was built in 1892 to showcase the rich soil of South Dakota and encourage people to settle in the area. It was a wooden castle structure on Mitchell's Main Street. It was rebuilt in 1905 and again in 1921.

Russian-style onion domes and Moorish minarets were added in 1937, giving the Palace the distinctive appearance that it has today. It costs $130,000 annually to decorate the Palace.

The exterior corn murals are replaced and redesigned each year with a new theme. The designs are created by local artists.

The exterior corn murals are made with real corn. Lots of corn Ė 275,000 colorful ears are carefully sliced and nailed into place on the murals that adorn the building. It is all done by hand. The process begins early, each spring, local farmers plant 12 different colors of corn in carefully separated plots to ensure plants donít cross-pollinate and dilute the purity of the colors.

We happened to visit the Corn Palace during the yearly "Corn Palace Festival." They had entertainment every evening: Jameson Rogers, Little Texas, Roots and Boots, and Righteous Brothers. The streets around the Corn Palace had vendor tents set up, so we could not get a good picture of the Corn Palace.
This is a picture taken from the Corn Palace Website.

The front entrance to the Corn Palace. There is a huge mural on either side of the entrance.

This is the mural to the right of the entrance. You can see the different colored corn used to make the mural.
The USS South Dakota was a battleship in the United States Navy, in active service from 1942 until 1947.
note: Calvin Graham, believed to be the youngest US serviceman to enlist and fight in World War II, enlisting at the age of twelve, served aboard South Dakota in 1942 and 1943 as a loader for an anti-aircraft gun, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart Medal.


There is an arena inside the Corn Palace. The evening performances are held here.
The murals inside are not change every year.


Mount Rushmore. It's kind of corny!

This is a full wall picture of what the Corn Palace looked like in 1927.


Windmill Island Gardens in Holland, Michigan


Holland was founded by Dutch Americans in 1847, and is in an area that has a large percentage of citizens of Dutch American heritage.
Touring the gardens. During the tulip season there large areas of tulips.

This is a working flour mill. We had a very interesting tour. We climbed up into the structure and were walked through the milling process. We were shown how the millers had to manual rotate the windmill to keep it pointed into the wind.




Michiganís little Bavaria

When walking down Main Street in the village of Frankenmuth I actually felt I was back in Germany. The restaurant and store fronts are just what you would see in Bavaria. I did not take any pictures while on the street. We had a great meal in the Bavarian Inn and were served by a waiter wearing lederhosen. But we spent most of our time at Bonnerís Christmas Wonderland.

This picture from the Bavarian Inn website shows how our waiter was dressed.

I can't believe all the Christmas stuff they have at the Christmas Wonderland.

There are huge rooms and rooms of Christmas stuff!

I can't decide what to get - The selections are unique.



I'm finished shopping, lets go!

Besides all of the Christmas things you can look at and buy, the Bonnerís have a memorial chapel. This chapel is a replica of the one in Oberndorf, Austria. I was lucky enough to visit the one in Austria in 2014 with my daughter and cousin Otto.

The dedication plaque on the side of the chapel.

The picture on the left was taken in 2014 in Austria. My cousin, Otto, lives in Austria and was giving us a tour.
The picture on the right (2018) is at Bonner's Christmas Wonderland.





Fordís F150 Truck Factory Tour and Fordís Museum

We were not allowed to take pictures while on tour. This is one they took of us.
The tour was very interesting. We walked around the final assembly area on a elevated walkway.


This is a 1907 Ford. They use it to give VIP's rides around Greenfield Village.

Allegheny Locomotive 1601: One of the most powerful reciprocating steam locomotives ever built at 7,500 HP and one of the heaviest at 389 tons for the locomotive itself plus 215 tons for the loaded tender. The "Allegheny" name refers to the C&O locomotives' job of hauling coal trains over the Allegheny Mountains, which it did for over 15 years. Upon retirement in 1956, 1601 was donated to The Henry Ford museum.

We climbed up into 1601 to take a look at the controls. The coal burned so fast they could not shovel coal to fire the boiler manually.
There is a screw mechanism under the floor which moves the coal from the tender to the firebox.


Now that is a big snowplow!

Reading about Susan Parks refusal to give a white man her seat on the bus.

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks rejected bus driver James F. Blake's order to relinquish her seat in the "colored section" to a white passenger, after the whites-only section was filled. She acted as a private citizen "tired of giving in". Although widely honored in later years, she also suffered for her act; she was fired from her job as a seamstress in a local department store, and received death threats for years afterwards.

When bus #2857 was retired in the early 1970s it was purchased and kept in a field and used it to store lumber and tools. In September 2001, an article in the Wall Street Journal announced that the Rosa Parks bus would be auctioned online in October, and Ford Museum immediately began researching this opportunity. The bidding began at $50,000 on October 25, 2001, and went until 2:00 AM the next morning. Ford persevered, with bidding $492,000 to outbid others who wanted the bus, including the Smithsonian Institution.

The restored bus was first exhibited at The Henry Fordís ďCelebrate Black HistoryĒ program that began on February 1, 2003, and was a focal point of celebrations of Rosa Parksí life and legacy when she passed away in 2005, as well as on her 100th birthday in 2013. It now stands as the pinnacle artifact in the museumís With Liberty and Justice for All exhibit.


The bus in 2001, after sitting in a field for 30 years.

The bus in the Ford Museum.

Getting on the bus which Susan Parks rode when she was arrested.

There were many cars, from the very old to the modern, to look at in the museum. The 1956 Thunderbird was always one of my favorites.

Terry really enjoyed the telephone display.

Look how few parts it took to make a Model T.

Ronald Reagan's Presidential Car.

Theodore Roosevelt's Presidential Buggy.

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