Anyone who’s ever walked or driven down Corning Park in the Village of Webster probably hasn’t noticed anything unusual about the houses on that peaceful little street. However, two of those houses, which stand across the street from one another, do have a curious history: in the early 1900s, they used to be one house.
Around 1859, a spacious boarding house was built at 71 Corning Park, to serve students from the adjacent Webster Academy. The Academy and boarding house were discontinued in 1876 when the Union Free School was established, and for the next 50 years, 71 Corning Park remained a two-family dwelling. In 1928 it was purchased by George Witmer and Amos Taylor, who divided it into two units. The larger portion remained at 71 Corning Park, and the smaller north wing was moved across the street to 76 Corning Park.
Unfortunately, no photos of the original boarding house have ever been found, but the two, now separate residences, still exist on Corning Park. Additions and renovations have changed their appearance significantly from when they were one house in the early 1900s. But if you look carefully and use your imagination, maybe you can picture what they looked like together.
Discover more interesting historical tidbits at the Webster Museum, 18 Lapham Park, open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Visit the website at webstermuseum.org to learn more.