A Walking Tour of Corning, New York
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
Erastus Corning never had anything to do with glassmaking and probably never visited the town that bears his name. Corning began his business career in Troy, New York in 1808 at the age of 13 behind the counter of his uncle’s hardware store. In his work as a hardware man Corning was a dealer in all manner of iron products, from nails and stoves to farming equipment and railroad tracks. The Corning hardware store was one of the most significant businesses in the Hudson Valley by the 1830s and morphed into the Rensselaer Iron Works, which, under Corning’s guidance, installed the first Bessemer converter in the United States. Meanwhile, Corning was founding the Albany State Bank and branching into railroads which he would organize into America’s largest corporation, the New York Central. Amidst these interests Corning dabbled in politics, putting in a term as mayor of Albany and doing a stint in the New York state senate.