Almost finished with another finals week, the project workload is slightly dwindling. Though I do have a twelve page media law paper, a masters project proposal, and an exam left, I’m taking a brief moment of procrastination to post the temporary edit of my photo essay venture on the community of Corning, Ohio. I say tentative because I personally do not consider this project to be completed. There remains many people to meet. Many moments to capture. And much more I have yet to learn of this community.
A brief history of Corning:
Corning was founded in 1870 during the mining boom era of Sunday Creek. At its peak, the village population reached just over 1,500 and had a prosperous local commerce inclusive of several groceries, bars, hardware store, restaurants, Levi shop, gas stations, car dealerships, and even a movie theater. Though the mining industry began to dwindle in the 1920s, Corning’s economic stability faired better than most small towns in surrounding Perry County due to its railroad system being a part of the New York Central railroad route. However, once the steam engine began being replaced by diesel, the local labor market struggled in Corning. Around the 1950s started the economic decline that today is visible by closed and demolished buildings. Current data from the 2010 U.S. Census surveyed that 35% of families and 38% of individuals are under the poverty level in the village in comparison to a national average of 9.9%.
Many people I’ve talked with in town reflect on this aspect of the community. The older generation recounts the Corning of their youth with such nostalgic views and memories. Though this struggle is a part of the community, I attempted to find the foundations that sustain this village. What I’ve discovered is a community whose strength comes from strong familial bonds and friendships that often span generations.
In no way do I think this project is complete, but my 10 weeks are up for this course and what is presented is what I’ve thus far have learned about this community. I look forward to continuing the project especially under the much kinder seasons of spring and summer, and I hope that in the end I can fully convey the extent of strong relationships that sustain the village of Corning.
Click the link below to view the PDF layout draft of my photo essay on Corning, Ohio.