From the 1936 WPA Writer's Project
Corning was named for Erastus Corning of Corning, New York, a friend of D.M. Smith of Chariton, Iowa, who platted the town in 1855. Corning is located 27 miles east of Red Oak on U.S. 34 and on the main line of the C.B. and Q. Railroad. It is also served by the Burlington bus lines. The present population of Corning is 2,026.
One of the oldest buildings in the town is the county jail, a two-story building constructed of lime rock, which was built in 1877. Living quarters for the jailer are on the first floor and the jail is on the second. In October 1896, the town suffered a $200,000 loss by fire which destroyed twenty-three of the structures erected during the early history of Corning. The courthouse, a two-story brick building, was erected in 1890 and is located on a hill to the north of the business section. The city hall is one block south and a half block east of the courthouse. The fire station occupies the ground floor and city offices are on the second floor. One-fourth mile southeast of Corning is the principal recreation center for the community known as Spring Lake. The pool is supplied with water from nearby springs. In addition there are picnin grounds with out-of-door stoves, a playground for children, dance hall and cafe.
The old high school building is used for kindergarten and lower grade school classes, while the junior high school and secondary grades are housed in a modern brick building. Churches active in Corning include the First Baptist, Christian, Methodist, Presbyterian, Swedish and Catholic. The free public library is the gift of Dr. A.A. Rawson, who made a bequest of his office building for that purpose. The library was organized by the Women's Study Club in 1896, but its building was destroyed in a fire in 1896. In the spring of 1901, a new brick building, the gift of Mrs. A.A. Rawson, was dedicated. In the spring of 1931, Mrs. Laura Turner Okey, sister of former Governor Dan Turner, made a gift of $10,000 for an annex to the building was wrecked and rebuilt at a cost of $10,315, Mrs. Okey supplementing her original gift with an additional $315.00. The building was dedicated in honor Dr. Rawson and Austin B. and Mary C. Turner.
Corning is the home of Judge Horace M. Towner, for twenty years judge of the district court for the Third Judicial District of Iowa and governor of Puerto Rico for seven years under the Harding and Coolidge administrations. Judge Towner, now 80 years old, has resumed his law practice in Corning. Corning is also the home of Dan W. Turner, former governor of Iowa.
1984 Adams County History Book