Major renovations are planned for the former Opera House in downtown Corning in Adams County, Iowa. The 1902 building was constructed across from Central Park replacing a bank and merchandise stores destroyed by fire five years earlier. For its first decade of existence, the Corning Opera House staged exclusively live performances. By 1921, motion pictures became the primary function with only occasional staged events, with the last known live production held in 1934. The 724-seat Opera House was one of hundreds built in Iowa in the early twentieth century.
The building was sold to the local newspaper publishing company, where it was used for nearly 70 years before it was donated to the city of Corning in December 2001. A board of directors was formed, and more than $500,000 has been raised to improve the building, which received new windows in 2006 and a new elevator in 2009. In August, the Opera House received a $1.5 million Main Street Iowa grant, and plans are being developed to reopen a fully restored Corning Opera House by April 2012.