The Corydon Capitol commemorates the history of Indiana’s first state capital and the development of Indiana from the territorial period through statehood. Vincennes, the first territorial capital, was left in an isolated position when the Illinois Territory was separated from the Indiana Territory in 1809. In May of 1813, the capital was moved to Corydon because of its central location.
The square, Federal-style limestone capitol building, built between 1814 and 1816, was originally intended to serve as the courthouse for Harrison County. Limestone was hauled from nearby quarries to erect the 40-foot square walls and poplar and walnut logs were cut from virgin forests for the ceiling and roof supports. 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 huge elm tree. The trunk of the tree, now known as “Constitution Elm,” is still standing. On Aug. 5, 1816, the first state election was held and Jonathan Jennings was elected governor.
In November of 1816, the first General Assembly of 29 representatives, 10 senators and the lieutenant governor met in the capitol building. On Dec. 11, 1816, Indiana was admitted to the union as the 19th state. Corydon remained the state capital until the seat of government was moved to Indianapolis on Dec. 10, 1825. At that time, the capitol building became the Harrison County Courthouse. After the present courthouse was completed in 1919, the old capitol building was restored to its original appearance and opened as a state memorial in 1930. The Governor’s Headquarters was one of several brick homes built in Corydon in 1817. William Hendricks, Indiana’s second elected governor, made it his home and office from 1822 to 1824. Afterward, it was the home of the Porter-Griffin family for 134 years.
Corydon’s downtown area is a National Historic district, complete with historical landmarks, shopping and restaurants.