Field of Corn Pays Tribute to Agricultural Heritage
One Field of Corn in Dublin will NOT be harvested this autumn. This field is rather unique as it has ears of corn taller than the stalks we usually find in farmers’ fields. However, they are made of concrete!
Years ago from 1935 to 1963, this was an actual cornfield farmed by Sam Frantz, who worked with Ohio State University on creating several species of hybrid corn. When his farming days were over, he donated this land, now called the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park.
The concrete ears of corn were placed there to honor Frantz and Ohio’s farmers. In 1850 Ohio was the leading producer of corn in the nation. Even today they still remain in the top ten.
Field of Corn with Osage Oranges was commissioned by the Dublin Arts Council and finished in 1994. There are 109 six-foot white ears of concrete corn sprouting right out of the ground.
Artist Malcolm Cochran, professor of sculpture at OSU, designed the concrete cornfield. Molds were made from three original sculptures and these were used to cast ears which were rotated to produce a variety of angles. In that way, each ear of corn looks different to the observer.
There’s a deeper meaning to this display than first meets the eye. The field of corn resembles the regimented grave markers of a military cemetery to represent the death and rebirth of individuals and society. Cochran was designing a tribute to a way of life no longer present in this area, which has been taken over by offices and housing developments.
Casting was then done by Cooke & Ingle, Co, in Dalton, Georgia. Each cob weighed 1500 lb. requiring four trucks to transport the complete load. The foundation for each cob is concrete at a depth of three feet.
A row of old Osage Orange Trees grows along the west side of the field, and a second row was recently planted. Here you will find brass plaques describing the history of corn from the Native American days until the present.
Osage Indians used the orange wood from these trees to make bows and tomahawks. Early farmers in Ohio planted it along boundary lines as its thick, thorny branches made a secure border. The fruit of the tree is chartreuse in color and is a natural repellant for pesky insects.
The sculptures look like the Corn Belt Dent variety, but many locals thought it wrong to spend tax dollars to honor food farmers with statues of inedible food.
Today that field of concrete ears is a local icon and locals are using it for many purposes. Weddings are held in the field, office workers play in the snow in the wintertime, children play hide and seek, and families think it’s a great place for pictures.
Field of Corn has received “Best of Columbus” honors by readers of Columbus Monthly magazine. It’s been voted #1 four times as the best public artwork in central Ohio.
If you ever happen to be in the Dublin area, it’s worth a side trip to view this unusual tribute to our farmers. Field of Corn with Osage Oranges is Dublin’s light-hearted way of honoring the community’s past while shaping its future. While there, take some corny pictures!
Find this unusual attraction off I-270 at the Tuttle Crossing Exit. Field of Corn with Osage Oranges is located at 4995 Rings Road at the corner of Frantz Road.