The Indiana State House
A Self-Guided Tour
The Indiana Territory was carved in 1800 from the Northwest Territory. The new territory
contained all of what is now Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, a great portion of Michigan and
part of Minnesota. The first seat of government for the Indiana Territory was located in
Vincennes (1800-1813); the government building, believed to have been built in 1800, is
now a State Historic Site.
The seat of government was moved to Corydon in 1813. Corydon was a logical choice at
the time because settlers and supplies heading west arrived via the Ohio River a short
distance away. Indiana became a state on December 11, 1816, and Corydon remained the
seat of government. The original State House is now a State Historic Site. It was built at
a cost of $3,000. The building was made of Indiana limestone.
Although it was the state’s first seat of government, no one from Corydon had ever served
as governor until Frank O’Bannon was elected in 1996.
As more roads were built and settlement moved northward, a centrally located seat of
government was needed. In January 1821 the site where Indianapolis is now located was
designated as such, and the city was created. The name Indianapolis comes from the word
Indiana, which means, “land of the Indians” and the Greek word for city, Polis, which
means, “center of.” Indianapolis is located geographically in the center of the state. The
city was designed by Alexander Ralston, an assistant to Pierre L’Enfant. L’Enfant designed
the layout for Washington, D.C.; Ralston modeled his plan for Indianapolis in the same
State records and the state treasury physically moved to Indianapolis in October 1824. The
Completed in 1888, the
State House is home to
officials from all three
branches of government:
executive, legislative and
To become acquainted with
this important and historic
building, begin by exploring
some State House history.
Certain areas are not
available for viewing