Agricultural Artistry: A Short History of the Beloved Corn Maze
October 4, 2023
The fall season sparks many wonderful things here in Lancaster County. The leaves change, apples and pumpkins take over farm stands and markets, and the sweaters come out of storage. One of Pennsylvania's most beloved traditions is the corn maze. Corn mazes are an excellent way for the public to support local farms and enjoy the autumn season. But where did corn mazes come from, and how did they end up here?
Mazes in History
Maze games date back to the ancient Greeks and Egyptians; labyrinths in these cultures were significant for spiritual purposes. By the late 17th century, these labyrinths had become an inspiration for the rich and royal of Europe, as garden mazes were popular in the yards of aristocrats. These mazes were made of hedges and acted as a game, the goal of which was to find the maze's center.
The idea of making a corn maze arose in the 1990s. The concept came to Don Frantz, Creative Director for Broadway and the Super Bowl, as he looked out of a plane window. He noticed rows of corn from the ground below, noting their lines and contours over the land. Frantz made the first corn maze in Annville, Pennsylvania, with the help of good friend Adrian Fisher. Lovingly titled "The Amazing Maize Maze," this corn maze was opened in 1993 at 126,000 square feet. To create the maze's design, workers pulled corn stalks by hand while using a grid system to navigate through the corn. You can still visit The Amazing Maize Maze to this day, but their maze designs change every year.
The Corn Maze Today
People no longer pull stalks by hand to create corn mazes - every maze creation process is different. Most mazes are created using GPS and computer-generated designs, but some farms still draw their plans by hand and turn them into a map. No matter the process, creating a corn maze is a feat to be proud of!
Today, there are more than 500 corn mazes across the states, many of which are located in good 'ole Pennsylvania.
If you're interested in visiting a corn maze, here is a list to get you started:
-The Discover Lancaster Corn Maze at Oregon Dairy
-Cherry Crest Adventure Farm
-The Amazing Maize Maze
-Fall on the Farm Corn Maze at Elizabeth Farms
Corn mazes are a great way to support local farms and farmers. They're an easy way to get kids outside to enjoy some fun for the entire family! At LFT, we hope everyone enjoys and appreciates our farmland this harvest season. Visit a corn maze and thank a farmer for their hard work!