After the Indiana Territory was divided into the Indiana and Illinois Territories in 1809, the location of the original territorial capital in Vincennes no longer proved practical due to its location on the extreme western boundary, away from more the heavily populated regions near the Ohio River. As a result, Corydon was chosen as the new territorial capitol in 1813 by the General Assembly, beating out Charlestown, Clarksville, Jeffersonville, Lawrenceburg, and Madison.
From 1811 to 1813 (prior to the change), Dennis Pennington designed and built a new 2-story, square, limestone, Federal style building to act as the courthouse for Harrison County and as the home for the Territorial Legislature--should Corydon be chosen as the new territorial capitol. In 1816, while representatives of the Territorial Legislature were applying for statehood and drafting a state constitution, the territorial capitol building in Corydon was used by the forty-three member constitutional committee. Due to the cramped quarters inside the courthouse and the warm summer temperatures, some sessions were held outside in the shade of a large elm tree known as the Constitution Elm.
When Indiana became the 19th state in December of 1816, Corydon was chosen as the state capitol, where according to the constitution it was to remain until at least 1825. The Senate and Supreme Court met on the second floor of the building, while the lower floor was used by the House of Representatives. The Indiana State Government met in Corydon until 1825 when the capitol was moved to Indianapolis. The original capitol building was then used as the county courthouse for Harrison County until 1919. In 1930, the State of Indiana bought the original state capitol and restored the building to its 1816 appearance. The building is in the Corydon Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.