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What Is It Now? The Corning House

A Webster History Mystery

The Corning house back in the day. (Photo Courtesy of the Webster Museum)


The first Webster Online “History Mystery” for the month of January: read the historical background below describing a specific Webster place and see if you can guess what building stands there today!

Historical Background

In 1825, William J. Corning moved to North Penfield (then Webster Village) and bought a lot of land with his brother in the village. They built a general store there in 1827.

The Town of Webster was incorporated in 1840. William Corning became the second Town Supervisor in 1841.

Corning built his brick mansion at Corning Park around 1840-50. He married Lucy Griffin of Penfield in 1843. They had seven children together. They held many parties at their home with its 6-foot chandelier and a state-of-the-art organ piped throughout the house.

In 1927, the house was auctioned and the many artifacts - including the chandelier, the organ, and several elegant carriages from the barn - found their way to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

William J. Corning lived from 1807 to 1894. He loved Webster and donated land to build the Webster Academy, Webster’s first secondary school. He also contributed a large sum of money to build, equip, and begin the school.

The Corning house went on to serve as a hospital, medical clinic, and nursing home. In the 30s, it became the Corning Inn, a place where banquets and private parties were held. It had a tea room for light lunches in the 70s and 80s.

The house was last an apartment building before it was eventually torn down amidst many protests and articles in the newspaper. McDonald’s was going to buy the land but backed out and a different business moved in.

Can you guess which business now stands where the Corning house once stood? Submit your guesses to editor@websteronlinenews.com.

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