Location: Corydon, Indiana
Webpage: Indiana State Historic Site
General Description: Shortly after the outbreak of the War of 1812, the Indiana Territorial capitol was moved from Vincennes which had been the capitol since 1800. With the growth of the representative government of the territory as the population grew towards statehood, it was agreed that Corydon was more centrally located to the population center of the early 1800s. Besides which there was the construction of a new Harrison County Courthouse that could be used by the larger assembly. Corydon also served as the site of the constitutional convention necessary for Indiana to achieve statehood in 1816. Since the courthouse was still under construction the delegates met in a nearby log home, however, since the home was cramped and steamy during the summer they often met under the shade of a nearby elm tree which became known as the Constitution Elm. Indiana became a state in December of 1816 and Corydon continued as the state capitol until 1825. By this time land surveyors had located a suitable location near the geographic center of the state and a new capitol was created at Indianapolis. The residents of Corydon believe they have the best of both worlds. While being historically important in the state for being the first capitol, it has retained its small town culture by moving all the headaches of government to Indianapolis.
1) The centerpiece of Corydon is The Old Capitol building in the town square. There are daily tours of the building. The Old Capitol is a federal style structure two story building with a nice cupola on top. Just off the town square is a Visitors Center where we obtained a map for a Walking Tour of Corydon.
2) A few blocks to the north is the site of the Constitutional Convention commemorated with a plaque, as well as, the remains of The Constitutional Elm. Today there is a sandstone memorial that surrounds the remains of the trunk. No one knows how long this stately tree would have survived when its life was cut short in 1924, a victim of the Dutch elm disease that killed 70 million elms across the country.
3) Most of the buildings around the town square have historical plaques giving the history of the building, which in most cases has changed dramatically and repeatedly over the years. We spent some time watching the artist at the Zimmerman Art Glass factory at the site of an old gas station. While we watch he quickly crafted two beautiful glass vases with a colored flower in the base. It was fascinating to watch.
4) Just south of town is the Battle of Corydon Memorial Park, the only Civil War Battlefield in Indiana. On July 9, 1863 (just days after Gettysburg) a locally mustered “Home Guard” of about 450 men faced an invading force of more than 2,400 Confederate calvary under the command of General John Morgan. The local boys put up a spirited fight, but wisely fled when the Confederates rolled up their heavy artillery. The Confederates shot multiple times over the town in warning and then occupied the town. After raiding the town for supplies and fresh horses, they Confederates left continuing their extended raid up into northwestern Ohio before returning to the south.
5) At the bridge across Little Indian Creek are the Flags Over Corydon where they display every flag that has flown over the town. There are a surprising number of flags, 35 in total. They range from the early Spanish and French, through the early US flags. Included are two Confederate flags. The majority of the flags are the changing US flags as new states were added to the Union.