WHERE OUR STATE BEGAN
Transforming Indiana from a territorial outpost to a functioning modern state was a deeply dramatic and fascinating time in our nation’s history. From Corydon’s colorful beginnings, Hoosier statesmen carefully built the foundations for the state we know today.
About Corydon Capitol
Corydon Capitol State Historic Site commemorates Indiana’s first state capital and follows the development of Indiana from a territory to a state. Vincennes, the first territorial capital, was left on Indiana’s western edge when the Illinois Territory was created and, in 1813, the capital moved to Corydon, a more central location for Indiana’s population at the time.
In June of 1816, 43 delegates met in Corydon to draft the first state constitution. Much of their work was done under the shade of a large elm tree. The trunk of the tree, now known as “Constitution Elm,” is still standing. The first state election was on Aug. 5, 1816, and Jonathan Jennings was elected governor.
In November 1816, the first General Assembly of 29 representatives, 10 senators and the lieutenant governor met in the new capitol building. On Dec. 11, 1816, Indiana was formally admitted as the 19th state. Corydon remained the state capital until the government moved to Indianapolis in 1825.
Corydon, a National Historic District, features shopping and restaurants, as well as Indiana’s only Civil War battlefield.
The square, Federal-style capitol building, built between 1814 and 1816, is located in the heart of downtown Corydon. Workers hauled limestone from nearby quarries to erect the 40-foot square walls, and logs were cut from virgin forests for the ceiling and roof supports. In November 1816, the first General Assembly and the lieutenant governor met in the building. Corydon remained the state capital until 1825, when the capital moved to Indianapolis, and the capitol building became the Harrison County courthouse.
When the present courthouse was completed in 1929, the old capitol building was restored and opened as a state memorial in 1930.
The Governor’s Headquarters, a brick home built in 1817, was home and office to William Hendricks, Indiana’s second elected governor, from 1822 to 1825. The building is one of nine original buildings from the time Corydon served as the state capital. The other eight are: the Capitol, First State Office Building, Cedar Glade, Posey House, Westfall House, Branham Tavern, Adams-Payne House and Harvey Heth House.
Porter Law Office
Built in 1819, the Porter Law Office is where dozens of future Indiana law makers studied and read law. Judge William Porter, who also served as speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives, made this building his office for nearly 40 years. The Porter family and their descendents lived in the former Governor’s Headquarters for 135 years.
First State Office Building
The recently renovated First State Office building, built in 1817, was home to Indiana’s first state auditor and treasurer. It is said that the money for the young state of Indiana was kept in a vault in the cellar. The building is now used for Corydon Capitol State Historic Site programming and is available as a rental facility.
Battle of Corydon
Corydon is home to Indiana’s only Civil War battlefield. The Indiana Homeguard engaged Confederate General John Hunt Morgan and his raiders on July 9, 1863, in a 30-minute skirmish on the outskirts of town. The battle site is open daily from dawn to dusk and features a restored 19th century cabin and monuments.
Corydon Capitol State Historic Site
HISTORY IN PROGRESS
As the weather warms up, so do the outdoor construction projects! If you're around the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site, you may notice fencing that went up in the past couple of days. This project will unfold over the next several months in stages, to help repair significant water issues in the statehouse and surrounding area. In the meantime, tours will start at the Wright Center to accommodate construction safety.
Corydon Capitol State Historic Site is open year-round!
Tuesday – Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday, 1 – 5 p.m. (Closed Sundays January through March)
Closed on Mondays.
Purchase admission tickets in the Capitol Building.
|Children under 3||FREE|
Indiana State Museum members and members of other State Historic Sites Friends Groups get FREE admission!
*Child: ages 3 through 12
*Senior: age 60 and older
Group/School Tours: Special rates are available for groups of 10 or more and for school groups. Call 812.793.4890 to schedule your group.
DIRECTIONS AND PARKING
Where to park
Parking is available around the historic downtown square. There is also a parking lot at the Visitor’s Center.
Feasting on History: Recipes of the Renowned
Join us for a dinner program at the historic First State Office Building. Enjoy a full course dinner made up of recipes that were inspired by famous people or events. Do you know the story of Kentucky Burgoo? What tie does the TV Dinner favorite Salisbury Steak have to history? Dine with us to find out!
Homeschooled students and their families are invited to Indiana’s first capitol for a day of programming and tours. Stations include a tour of the Capitol, tour of Hendricks House, Junk in the Trunk program, Chores/Butter Making, and the Civil War. Guests must provide their own lunch.
Civil War Daycamp
March down to Corydon, the site of Indiana’s only Civil War battle, and enlist for some fun! Learn how to march and drill like a Civil War soldier, make crafts just like the soldiers would have had, set up camp, and learn all about life during the Civil War. Price includes lunch cooked over a campfire and a Civil War kepi.
Murder and mayhem are brewing in Corydon and your help is needed to solve the case! Each guest receives a role to play in this interactive mystery where guests are encouraged to scheme and bribe their way through the evening. Dinner and drinks themed to the evening are also included.
EDUCATION EVENTS & STANDARDS
AT CORYDON CAPITOL
Transforming Indiana from a territorial outpost to a functioning modern state was a deeply dramatic and fascinating time in our nation’s history. From Corydon’s colorful beginnings, Hoosier statesmen carefully built the foundations for a new beginning.
Academic topics covered:
- Early Indiana Statehood
- Pioneer Life
Grades 4 - 5
Tour of Corydon Capitol Sites
Learn about Corydon’s role as Indiana’s first state capitol from 1816 to 1825 including the famous
Grades 9 – 12
Manners and Morals Workshop
Available November through March; must be scheduled six weeks in advance.