Sam Hall has brought a portion of Mount Rushmore to York County.
Instead of granite and dynamite, the 24-year-old Hall used corn and a lawnmower to create an iconic image of George Washington, the father of our country.
Hall’s work is not carved into a mountain or even a hill. Rather it is cut into “just a regular cornfield,” he said. The near 7-acre image is the latest corn maze offered by his family’s farm, the Bush-N-Vine, on the Filbert Highway outside York.
Hall’s inspiration came not from Mount Rushmore but from the quarter. The Halls selected Washington as this year’s maze theme because it is an election year.
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The maze also includes the phrase “In God We Trust.” Sam Hall said it’s not a religious statement on his part. “In God We Trust” is part of the maze because it’s on the back of the quarter and, “that’s what our country is about,” he said.
In past years, the Halls carved their maze on a field near the highway. This year’s maze is down a rutted farm path, accessible by tractor or pickup truck. Those wanting to master the maze can take a hayride to its entrance.
There’s nothing fancy about the maze. It started as 100 pounds of field corn, planted 6 inches apart on rows separated by 28 inches.
Hall planted the corn in July. He “googled” a suitable image of Washington. When the corn was about a foot tall, he got on the lawnmower, “eye-balled” the image and started cutting. The hardest part, he said, was cutting Washington’s collar. It was difficult to get the lines of the collar parallel.
It took a couple of mowings to beat back the young corn. Hall let the remaining corn grow, soaking up the sun and rain. The corn is now about 8 to 10 feet tall. The field can be eerily quiet until the wind rustles the stalks. A wrong turn can lead to a densely packed dead end.
And you may not be alone. Deer tracks are embedded in the path.
Mastering the maze can be accomplished in as little as 30 minutes. But for many it takes longer because it’s not just a maze, it’s a history lesson, too.
Placed along the path are 18 questions – nine in the “In God We Trust” section, nine along Washington’s features. The questions test one’s knowledge of American history and government.
The Halls selected the questions and settled on 18 because that’s the number of holes on a Putt-Putt golf course.
“Everyone loves Putt-Putt,” Sam Hall said.
The questions are multiple choice. Some are easier than others. The first one, however, may take some time.
Who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
There is no penalty for a wrong answer. There is the satisfaction that you are smarter than a fifth-grader if you answer correctly.
The maze, which is open on Saturdays until Nov. 3, costs $5.
The maze exit is at the farm’s you-pick-em pumpkin patch. Amid the tangle of vines are several different varieties of pumpkins in various sizes, shapes and colors. The classic “orange” jack-o’-lantern pumpkin is still the big seller, Hall said, but more people are now asking for green or white pumpkins.
Sometime after Nov. 3, the Halls will harvest the field corn when the kernels dry out and the maze will disappear unlike the permanence of Mount Rushmore’s sculptures. The corn will be sold to deer hunters as well as for animal feed.
But that’s something George Washington undoubtedly would have understood. While he was a general, a president and greatly revered for his leadership, Washington’s first love was farming. He was among the first American farmers to experiment with crop rotation and fertilizers, realizing that it wasn’t healthy to continually plant a field with tobacco every year.
Washington ultimately stopped planting tobacco, instead planting wheat – and corn.