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Dublin Corn Cobs

When the original village of Dublin, Ohio was created in 1881, it consisted of less than one square mile of land. Since then, the area has grown to the point that today, over 36,000 residents call the almost 24 square miles of Dublin home. Dublin has come to serve as the annual host of events such as the Dublin Irish Festival and the Memorial Golf Tournament. However, few visitors to these events realize that they are but a stone's throw away from what is perhaps one of the weirdest sites in all of Ohio—for sitting quietly alongside a busy four-lane road nearby is a field filled with over 100 concrete corncobs.

In the early 1990s, the Dublin Arts Council decided they wanted to commission an artist to create an outdoor sculpture for the small, three-acre Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park and they eventually decided on Columbus' Malcolm Cochran. After months of planning and building, Cochran's creation, Fields of Corn (with Osage Orange Trees), was finally revealed in 1994.

The sculpture itself consists of 109 cement corncobs, all close to six feet tall, which are arranged in rows. At the far end of the field is a group of Osage orange trees, which overshadow concrete benches placed in front of plaques. The plaques describe, among other things, the history of farming and corn cultivation in the area.

What inspired Cochran to create such a bizarre and unique sculpture? One need only look back at the history of the land for the answer.

Sam Frantz, for whom the park is named, was not only a former owner of the property but also a leader in the hybridization of corn. In fact, the land the park sits on is said to have been farmed for well over 100 years. Farmers in the area would often use Osage orange trees to create natural dividing lines between their fields, which explains Cochran’s decision to include them in his sculpture.

The cobs themselves were individually created using several different molds—so, while from a distance all of the cobs appear to be uniform, closer inspection reveals subtle differences in size, shape, and even kernel pattern.

After the cobs were molded, they were painstakingly "planted" in the ground one at a time. But why concrete? Some believe Cochran was trying to make a statement about urban development. Dublin had for many years functioned largely as a farming community. But over time, more and more fields were bought up and turned into sprawling shopping centers. Some visitors to the site believe that the rows of corncobs take on the appearance of tombstones, a possible symbol of the "death" of farming in Dublin.

Whatever the motivation behind the Fields of Corn, the result has been known to turn more than a few heads when drivers pass by Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park for the first time.

Weird Ohio

 

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