Corning, Iowa: Small town, big variety!

I couldn’t believe it when I learned that the population of Corning, Iowa, is only 1,600. I knew it was a small town, but when I visited there recently and experienced the vibrant, charming downtown, I assumed it was home to many more residents than it is.

Consider this: Corning is the county seat of Adams County. Its downtown is a participant in the successful Main Street Iowa Program and delights visitors with a pretty row of restored buildings home to bustling local businesses, all decked out with colorful awnings and enticing window displays. A locally owned bakery, cafés, espresso bar, hardware store, antique store, the Corning Center for the Fine Arts, the lovingly restored Corning Opera House and Cultural Center; and R&S collectibles, which showcases a range of collectible automobiles, are just a few of the downtown highlights.

R&S Collectibles

Beyond the bustling city center, Adams County offers an abundance of destinations.

The Adams County Speedway is home to NASCAR Whelen All American Series and hosts racing excitement every Saturday night from April through September.

The Adams County House of History tells the story of this southwest Iowa county’s history. Its crown jewel is a trunk that rode to the Americas on the Mayflower in 1620.

Mayflower trunk at Adams County House of History

Legendary late-night entertainer Johnny Carson was born in Corning in 1925, and spent his early years here. His boyhood home is recently restored and lets visitors remember Carson’s modest beginning and rise to fame.

Memorabilia at Johnny Carson's Birthplace

The Corning Winery & Vineyard invites guests to what has to be the only floating tasting room in Iowa, and maybe in the world! Tour the winery and learn about the process used to create seven red and six white wines that are crafted on-site.

Corning Winery and Vineyard

Drive just a few miles outside Corning to enjoy rural Adams County and the amenities that exist there.

Lake Icaria provides a variety of year-round opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The 650-acre lake draws swimmers, skiers and fishers. A network of trails, campsites, cabins and playgrounds accommodate land-lovers.  A handful of deer and flock of wild turkey greeted our group to Lake Icaria, showing me that this truly is one of the most scenic recreational destinations in Iowa.

Cabin at Lake Icaria

In the 1840s, French immigrants established an equalitarian community in the rolling hills of rural Adams County. Today you can experience remnants of that settlement by visiting the site that houses a simple but stunning dining hall and an Icarian schoolhouse.

Dining Hall at Icarian settlement

Nearby, the tiny town of Prescott invites visitors to experience the Kline Museum, the collection of local resident Clarence Kline’s massive collection of memorabilia, highlighted by a restored 1911 Carter automobile, one of only 500 ever manufactured.

Refurbished 1911 Carter Automobile at Kline Museum

Corning’s actual population is 1,581. But with its wealth of treasures, it gives travelers the variety of a much larger city. Pay it a visit today and see how many memories your family can create.

Shawna Lode
Manager – Iowa Tourism Office

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