The first church of St. Patrick was built in the Adams County seat of Corning in 1871. A second church was constructed at the present site in 1883 and served the congregation for nearly 50 years — until the present brick building was dedicated on November 18, 1931. The sanctuary was remodeled in 1975 at a cost of $18,000; additional updates were made to the church and attached rectory in 2011. The interior benefited from new paint, carpet, kneelers, and refinishing of the quarter-oak pews. A few exterior updates are currently underway, including new landscaping and the addition of a handicap entrance.
The parish of approximately 100 families is currently led by Father Lazarus Kirigia, a Kenya native.
In September 1937, the Adams County Free Press reported Corning was one of nine towns in the state to receive funds for a new Post Office building as part of a “seventy million dollar emergency construction fund authorized by Congress” as part of the Works Project Administration. Postmaster A. C. Peterson received information from the United States Treasury on how to proceed in plans for the Post Office, which would be opened for bidding October 4 that year.
The contract was awarded to the Church Company in Kansas City, and construction on the $75,000 building began in early 1938. Prior to its opening, a Free Press reporter highlighted key interior features in the new building, including Tennessee granite in the lobby, red birch woodwork, service windows titled in gold leaf outlined in black, and bronze lighting fixtures. The new Corning Post Office was officially dedicated June 15, 1938.
About 150 residents from the Adams County town of Prescott and the surrounding area showed up for the dedication of the new Post Office on May 21, 1960. The ceremonies, which were held indoors in a nearby building due to inclement weather, began with two numbers from the Prescott High School Band, followed by a welcome from the Prescott Postmaster. The main speaker of the evening was Allen Kane, a field director for the U.S. Postal Service based out of Sioux City. The ceremony was concluded with a flag-raising conducted by the local American Legion post. An open house followed at the new post office with free coffee and donuts provided by the Prescott Commercial Club.
The post office in Prescott is one of over 250 in the state being reviewed for potential closure; view the full Iowa post office closing list.
The first Adams County Courthouse to built in the seat of Corning was destroyed by fire the morning of February 1, 1888. The wood frame structure burned quickly, and within less than two hours all that was left was the chimney and remains of the brick vault. Temporary quarters were setup within local businesses before voters approved construction of a new courthouse in November 1889 and the new, $28,000 building was dedicated June 20, 1890.
By 1938, the second courthouse showed signs of deterioration and efforts were made pass a bond issue to cover costs for construction of a new Courthouse facility. After four failed votes, citizens approved a $225,000 bond issue to construct a new building in January 1954. Ground was broken June 1954 and the building was formally dedicate October 7, 1955.
The third Adams County Courthouse featured a contemporary style of architecture, unusual at the time among public buildings across the state and nation. The building originally featured concrete walls painted with aqua green and a pink-like “grayed alizarin crimson.” Though the modern facility was lauded by architectural critics at the time, the building was later dubbed by legendary Iowa columnist Chuck Offenberger as being the ugliest courthouse in the state.
An $850,000 renovation was completed in 1999 which included installation of new windows and doors, a new exterior finish, and a new sign and front canopy. The project also included interior upgrades including a new coat of paint, ceiling fans, lighting, and heating and cooling throughout the building.
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.