The Van Trump Report

Cornhenge… From Scorn to King of Corn

Cornhenge is the affectionate nickname given to the 109 concrete ears of corn memorializing the lost agricultural heritage of the Dublin, Ohio region, an area that like many, has been swallowed up by development on all sides. I should mention that the display also pays tribute to agricultural researcher Sam Frantz, who used the site as a test plot for his corn hybridization experiments while he farmed it from 1935 to 1963. I’m told Frantz was well known for his work and when he retired, the land was donated to the city and is named The Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park, home of the Concrete Corn.

Now a renowned travel destination in the state, the officially named, Field of Corn with Osage Oranges, wasn’t a local favorite during the planning and development stages. When Cornhenge was created in 1994, it instantly became a joke among some residents and an object of ridicule among those who were rubbed the wrong way over public money being used for the project. Interestingly, Dublin Arts Council Executive Director David Guion’s reaction to the public backlash was simply to say that public art should inspire an emotional response, and the Field of Corn has certainly done just that. But as with any field of dreams, if you build it, they will come – and they did!

Over time, the Field of Corn has been accepted and since 2008, the now popular display has received “Best of Columbus” honors by readers of Columbus Monthly magazine each year, including four #1 awards as best public artwork in central Ohio. Project artist Malcolm Cochran used three different molds to cast the concrete ears of corn, which stand about 6 feet tall and represent the breed known as Corn Belt Dent Corn, a double-cross hybrid variety that Frantz had a hand in. I’m told in order to give each ear a unique and distinct appearance they have been rotated in several directions. And by the way, don’t worry about knocking one over when you visit because each ear weighs in at around 1,500 pounds!

According to Cochran, his design layout with the corn also had a deeper meaning. As he explains, white concrete was chosen to deliberately mimic to the rows of crosses at Arlington National Cemetery. Ultimately, Cochran is memorializing agriculture and by extension, the way of life and regional identity that has been replaced by corporate offices and housing developments. 

If you find yourself in the area, be sure to stop by. There’s no charge and you can read all about the history of the region on five large bronze plaques that go back to when the Native Americans resided there. It’s definitely different but a great tribute to our heritage as American Farmers and worthy of a bit of reflection on all the generations who came before us and blazed a trail into the great unknown. Something I suspect many of us will have to do again soon as the ag landscape continues to change as technology advances. Check out the pic below of our AgSwag mascot “Gary the Goat”, who took a little field trip out to see Cornhenge! (Sources: RoadsideAmerica,,, atlasobscura, Wiki)

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