CORNING — A hidden gem tucked away in the hills of Corning offers a look back at the history of the village.
Two rooms of the former high school building on Corning Avenue are bursting with the history not only of the former Corning High School Railroaders, but also of the history of the village.
“There was so much history associated here, both with the school and the village, it made since to try to put as much of it on display as we can,” said Scott Moore. A small group or residents, including Moore and his wife Lesley and retired Corning High School teacher Lillian Winnenberg came up with the idea of a local museum last summer after Moore participated in the Perry County Historical Society’s lecture series.
“I thought, why not?” said Moore. “Why not have a museum here where maybe we can talk with people about the history of the village, about the railroads and coal mines that were important to the area.”
Displays in the museum area offer bits of information on the history of Corning. Remember the Candy Train Wreck of 1921? That fatal accident occurred on North Valley Street.
How about the Corning Railroaders? The high school basketball team was a two-time regional champion (1947 and 1951) and a state semi-finalist in 1947 and 1950.
The program produced four All-Ohioans from 1944-1960 including Jerry Jones, Jerry Roof and Dick Garrison.
Jerry Jackson, the last of the Railroaders’ All-Ohioans, averaged 29 points and 16 rebounds during his senior year, leading the team to a 53-7 record during his three varsity seasons.
“I remember watching (Jackson) play when I was a kid,” said Mearl Kokensparger. “He was one of the best players that I ever saw.” Mearl along with Linda Shiplett visited the museum recently, taking a few extra minutes to review the basketball trophies and records.
“This is a nice museum, and really interesting to be able to look back on some of what happened here in Corning,” said Shiplett. “To be able to have it in their old high school is also interesting.”
The museum, which also includes staff and student pictures from the old high school, is situated in two rooms that at one time were occupied by the school principal and secretary. “Hopefully those who come here were not used to spending that much time in these rooms,” joked Winnenberg. “But it is a chance to look back on the history of our small town.”
The Corning Museum is open each Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. and by appointment by calling (740) 347-4520.