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Monday, August 23, 2010

Corydon - Indiana's Original Capital (as Posted on

Written by Kenny / 10 days ago /

Recently, my travels took me to the town of Corydon, the first capital of the state of Indiana. The historic nature of the place became apparent to me as I gazed at the town square. There, preserved for the enjoyment of posterity, is the cozy-looking Old Capitol Building. How did it come to stand there? My investigations told me that back before the town of Corydon even existed, William Henry Harrison, Governor of the Indiana Territory and later President of the United States, often used to stop at a friend's house located in the vicinity. Noting that two creeks joined together nearby, Harrison decided that the spot would be a good location for a town, which he called Corydon at the suggestion of his friend's daughter. Harrison sold the land to government surveyor Harvey Heth in 1808, and the town was officially founded that year. Construction of the capitol started in 1811, and it served as the territorial legislature until 1816, when it became the center of politics in the new state of Indiana. As the population shifted northward, Corydon became increasingly inconvenient for activity, so the capital was moved to Indianapolis in 1825. However, Corydon remains the seat of Harrison County.

The town square is not just composed of the Old Capitol. On the edge of the square is the impressive Harrison County Courthouse, the top two thirds made of brick and the bottom third made of limestone. The entrance is overlooked by four Romanesque columns. My favorite part of the square is the space around the buildings. It's all grass, except for a few stone paths. Really, the center of town doubles as a park for the enjoyment of community activities, such as the Friday night band concerts that attract crowds of locals and regional tourists during the summer. Small local shops and restaurants border the square. Together, they provide access for a wide range of amenities for a small town.

Feeling hungry, I walked into one of the restaurants for lunch with my fellow intern, Reese. The establishment was a diner called Frederick's. We found a homely environment inside. Shelves all around the walls showcased bits of Americana, exactly what you'd expect to find in a small-town diner. According to his custom, Reese ordered a burger with no lettuce or tomatoes or onions; he is a purist. I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich. Comparing notes while we ate, we decided that both were delicious choices. Gazing out at the green town square, considering the special significance Corydon holds for the state of Indiana, and sipping on my iced tea, I decided that I couldn't ask for a more interesting and comfortable setting in which to spend my weekday afternoon.

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