|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
The current Indiana capitol building that graces downtown Indianapolis is the fifth capitol to house the legislature in the state. The act authorizing the construction of the building to replace the previous capitol passed the Indiana legislature on March 4, 1877.
The Fifth Capitol Building
The first capitol building, called the Red House, met in Vincennes from 1805 until 1813, when it moved to Corydon, Indiana to the new capitol there. The legislature used the Corydon building until it moved to Indianapolis in 1825. The Legislature used the Marion County Courthouse as the third capitol until workers completed construction of the fourth capitol building in 1835. The legislature met in this building until it became unsafe in 1877 and the legislature moved to a state office building constructed in 1865. The legislature met in this office building from 1877 until the workers completed the current capitol in 1888.
The capitol built in 1835 proved to be inadequate in both size and quality of construction. By the late 1860's the building's foundation began to fail. Many feared the building would collapse. A ceiling collapse in 1867 proved these fears credible. Legislators first debated the feasibility of saving the structure in 1873, but most felt this was not possible. By 1876, the legislature moved out of the deteriorating structure and into the state office buildings and the Marion County Courthouse. They had the building condemned and razed.
A New Capitol
The legislature passed legislation approving the construction of a new building. Workers would construct the new building on the site of the old one at a cost not to exceed two million dollars. Construction began in 1880.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning