A simple two-story frame building was constructed in the 1850s in the first county seat, Quincy, Iowa. It was torn down in 1932. There is evidence from a later courthouse speech that a second courthouse was built in Quincy, but no records have been found to confirm this.
The county seat was moved to Corning in 1872 partly because the citizens of Corning offered to build a new courthouse. A spacious two-story building was constructed, but on February 1, 1888 a fire destroyed it in just two hours. For $28,183 another courthouse was built that was similar to the courthouses in Adair and Monona. This courthouse was used until 1955 when during repairs, the roof fell in.
The present courthouse was built at a cost of $218,635. Its unique appearance can be attributed to the light green concrete walls separated by pink panels between the windows.