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With fall in the air, many families like mine will spend some time at a local corn maze.  (READ: The Top 13 corn mazes in the USA for 2023 ).  As I was researching different corn mazes around the country (and even the world), I started wondering about the history of corn mazes – when was the first corn maze built and who invented the corn maze?

The history of mazes and labyrinths goes back to ancient times and the Minotaur and Labyrinth from Greek mythology.  From there, mazes were built in pebbles, earth and more, and in 1690 the oldest surviving hedge maze was created – the Hampton Court Maze in Greater London

Hampton Court Maze (via Wikimedia Commons)

Hampton Court Maze (via Wikimedia Commons)

In the 18th century, hedge mazes became incredibly popular in England and the rest of Europe, but it took quite awhile before the hedge maze concept was translated to America’s staple crop: corn. Frankly, with all the maize / maze puns out there, I’m surprised it took as long as it did! 😀

Who invented the corn maze?

The history of mazes in corn fields goes back to 1993. Don Frantz and Adrian Fisher worked together to design and build the first corn maze in the United States, at Lebanon Valley College, in east-central Pennsylvania.  The first corn maze was only on 3 acres and had 1.92 miles of pathway, and was officially certified by Guinness as the world’s largest corn maze (though others have long since surpassed that record)

One difference of corn mazes in the US as compared to traditional hedge mazes is the addition of puzzles or other brainteasers that are often needed to be solved in order to complete the maze.  Typically a corn maze will also be cut in a particular shape, whereas traditional hedge mazes were generally in geometric patterns

The first corn maze was titled “The Amazing Maize Maze” (see what I mean about those puns?!) and was shaped in the form of “Cornelius, the Cobasaurus”

(SEE ALSO: 13 of the best corn mazes in the US)


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