About This Place
Corning is a city in Quincy Township, Adams County, Iowa, United States. The population was 1,783 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Adams County.
Corning is perhaps best known as the birthplace of Johnny Carson. Daniel Webster Turner, who was governor of Iowa from 1931 to 1933, was born in Corning on March 17, 1877.
The first European settlers here were a group of French Icarians who came from Nauvoo, Illinois in 1852; they established a community near Lake Icaria, north of Corning in 1854. The new state of Iowa gave the town of "Icaria" a corporate charter in 1860. This community was dedicated to the utopian principles of Etienne Cabet and the democratic principles of the American Revolution and the French Revolution; this small French-speaking community considered themselves to be very patriotic Americans. In the 1860s, the community split between "traditionalists" and "progressives" (the latter favored women's right to vote). The "progressives" left the original site and moved to a new location about three miles (5 km) east of Corning's current location. Although the corporation formally dissolved in 1878, some continued to live in the communal dwellings until 1898, making this the longest-lasting Icarian colony in the United States. Eventually the community disbanded and merged into the general population. Displays and documents about the Icarian community can be found at the Icarian History Foundation office and in the Adams County offices, both in Corning. The former colony east of Corning is slowly being restored with the help of state and federal grants, and it will become a historical site; as of 2006, only a couple of partially-restored building and a very small cemetery (with grave markers inscribed in French) remain. Around the first weekend of June each year, Corning celebreates "Le Festival De L'Heritage Francais" in the French market.