While not entirely architecture related, being that this is not a historic building, nor an abandoned building of any sort, I wanted to share the story of Ohio’s Cornhenge.
Delving into Dublin’s Cornhenge: A Celebration of Agricultural Roots
Nestled in the heart of Dublin, Ohio, a very interesting, publicly funded art installation unfurls across the landscape, appropriately named “Field of Corn (with Osage Orange Trees),” though some refer to it as “Cornhenge.” This unique open-air gallery features a display of 109 very realistic concrete ears of corn, each standing proud and upright in a field. The ears of corn are arranged in a meticulous grid, evoking the quintessential image of a Midwestern cornfield.
Field of Corn, serves as a tribute to Ohio’s rich agricultural heritage, specifically the importance of corn farming in the region.
From Farmland to Art Installation: The Creation of Cornhenge
At one edge of the installation, two lines of Osage-orange trees, as if guarding a sacred domain, frame the vista. One row of these hardy trees, bearing their distinctive, rough-skinned fruits, predated the installation, while the other was thoughtfully incorporated into the project’s design. This piece of art, work of sculptor Malcolm Cochran, and landscape architects Stephen Drown and James Hiss, was commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council and came into being in 1994.
The stage for this outdoor spectacle is the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, a plot of land steeped in local history. Once agricultural land owned by Sam Frantz, an innovator who pioneered several hybrid corn species, the land was gifted to the city during the twentieth century. This art installation serves not only as a tribute to Frantz’s enduring legacy but also as a poignant reminder of Dublin’s, and Ohio’s deeply rooted agricultural heritage. Along the park’s western edge, near the sentinel lines of Osage orange trees, informative plaques provide fascinating insights into the project’s conception and the science of hybridization.
The Journey of Creating Dublin’s Iconic Corn Ears
To create the uncannily realistic ears of corn, three distinctive molds were employed, each casting a replica standing an impressive 6 feet tall. The chosen model for this homage to agriculture is the Corn Belt Dent Corn, a double-cross hybrid variety known for its resilience and high yield. Each ear, meticulously rotated to create a sense of individuality and realism, was cast by the skilled artisans at Cook & Ingle Co., a precast concrete manufacturer located in Dalton, Georgia. Each corn ear, a testament to the skill of its creators, weighs an astounding 1,500 pounds.
Embracing Cornhenge: The Installation’s Impact on Dublin’s Community
Since its unveiling in 1994, Cornhenge has generated a wide range of reactions. While some view the installation as a quirky and engaging work of art, others have criticized it as a waste of public funds. Despite these differing opinions, Cornhenge has undeniably become a landmark and point of interest in Dublin, Ohio. Over the years, Field of Corn has evolved into a beloved symbol of the Central Ohio community, captivating locals and visitors alike with its unique charm. The installation has repeatedly earned the prestigious “Best of Columbus” honors from the readers of Columbus Monthly magazine, garnering its nomination each year since 2008. Among this, it has triumphantly claimed the number one spot for best public artwork in Central Ohio on four separate occasions, cementing its place in the region’s artistic landscape.
Visitors to Cornhenge often marvel at the attention to detail in the corn statues and the surreal experience of walking among the larger-than-life sculptures. The installation has also become a popular spot for photography, with many people taking creative and amusing photos alongside the concrete corn. Additionally, Cornhenge has inspired various community events, such as the annual Cornhenge 5K race, which raises funds for the Dublin Arts Council.
As a popular attraction and a source of community engagement, Cornhenge continues to spark conversation and inspire appreciation for the region’s rich history.
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