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Roadside attractions abound on America’s crossroads

December 16, 2010

Related Document: CornTower.doc

ROCHESTER, Minn. (2009) - Road.  Trip.  Are there two more exciting words in the American dictionary?  The spontaneous, ticketless journey through America's heartland is a guaranteed ride to an exciting adventure.  However, as one travels down the congested highways many are unknowingly passing by fascinating landmarks on the parallel back roads, such as the historic corn tower in the heart of Rochester, Minn.

Corn captures the admiration of a handful of Midwestern and plains states towns.  The corn water tower, which stands 150 feet tall next to the Seneca Foods Plant in Rochester, Minn., has been a historical landmark for the city for 75 years.  The water tower was constructed in the 1930s, the same year its caretaker, Al Whipple, was born.  For more than 40 years Whipple climbed to the top of tower to maintain the kernels yellow glow, a task that he gave up after retiring from the Seneca Foods Plant. 

Many Rochester residents, regardless of the corn's cartoonish nature, see it as a powerful symbol of the community's roots in agriculture and the land.  As the second largest ear of corn in the U.S, next to the ear at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D., this historical landmark is likely the most photographed site in Rochester. 

Rochester boasts just one of the many national roadside attractions for families to visit.  According to the American Automobile Association on average 79 percent of families with children will go on two or more road trips a year, leaving plenty of driving time to visit the world's largest and most unique sites.  In recent years, Hampton Hotels has embarked on a Save-A-Landmark campaign in hopes of restoring and refurbishing some of the nation's historical, fun and unique roadside attractions. 

These historical landmarks are plentiful and can be found in every region of the U.S.  If one sets off on an adventure through the Midwest they will undoubtedly find a route filled with distinctive sites.  First one can indulge in an ice cream sundae in Two Rivers, Wis., the home of the original 1881 tasty delight.  Next, one can venture to Collinsville, Ill. to see the world's largest catsup bottle, a historic city monument that stands perched next to the old Brooks Catsup Plant.  And finally, one can end their Midwest adventure as they test their driving skills down Snake Alley in Burlington, Iowa, a landmark which battles San Francisco's Lombard Street as the "crookedest street in the world." 

Regardless of the destination, however, one will undoubtedly discover a plethora of roadside oddities and attractions if they veer off the highway and onto the unbeaten path. 


Rochester is a mid-sized city in southeastern Minnesota known for its world-renowned medical research facility, the Mayo Clinic, and the innovative IBM Corporation.  It offers a clean, safe, family friendly and inexpensive environment for people to live, work and play.  For more information regarding Rochester, please contact Mary Gastner at 800-634-8277 or or visit