Restoration work will start this summer on a home in southwest Iowa where a late night television icon was born.
Johnny Carson lived in the small house in Corning, Iowa, just three years before his family moved and settled in Norfolk, Nebraska.
The Corning house is getting a makeover to appear as it did when Carson was born in 1925. Beth Waddle is with the Johnny Carson Birthplace Society in Corning.
“When we received the home, many alterations had been made on the property from its original style and setting back in 1925 when (Carson) was born there,” Waddle said. “So, we worked with a historical architect who has developed a plan for restoring it back to that 1925 appearance.”
The home will also include memorabilia from Carson’s life and career. Waddle believes it can become a much bigger tourist attraction.
“TV Land and Entertainment Weekly did a poll several years ago and Johnny Carson was named the number one TV icon,” Waddle said.
The project to restore Carson’s birthplace home carries a price tag of $139,000, with includes private and public funds.
Waddle said she’d like to partner with other nearby attractions to create a tourism trifecta. She mentions the John Wayne birthplace home in Winterset, Iowa, and Glen Miller’s birthplace in Clarinda, Iowa, as examples.
A Johnny Carson Gallery is located in a museum in Norfolk, Nebraska, where Carson grew up and graduated from high school.
Carson hosted the Tonight Show for 30 years and died in January 2005 at the age of 79.