From 1887 through the 1930s more than 40 public exposition palace-type structures were created in at least 30 communities in middle America. This movement was launched by the success of the five Sioux City corn palaces beginning in 1887. Ottumwa produced coal palaces in 1890 and 1891. Blue Grass Palaces were constructed in Creston 1889-1892 and Forest City built flax palaces in 1892 and 1893. A more modest temporary grain-covered structure was built in downtown Des Moines in 1905 and Iowans constructed a corn covered building for display at the 1915 San Francisco Panama-Pacific International Exposition. These palaces produced a new form of regional tourism and economic development for the state.
The rise and fall of Iowa’s public exposition palaces and their forgotten legacy will be described in a power point presentation that includes historic photos of each of these palaces.
Funded project of Humanities Iowa. Humanities Iowa is state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.