A deputy director with the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corp. says the upcoming state bicentennial celebration is a catalyst for nearly $1 million in renovations planned for the old capital building in Corydon. Laura Minzes says the building, first used in 1816, hasn't been upgraded since just after World War II. Minzes tells Inside INdiana Business the property sits at one of the lowest elevations in the city.

She says the organization is currently taking steps to prepare for improvements to the site's drainage and electrical systems.

The building served as the Indiana Statehouse until 1925.

The remains of the so-called “Constitutional Elm,” where lawmakers are said to have drafted the state's first constitution, have also recently undergone improvements.

July 21, 2014

News Release

CORYDON, Ind. (July 11, 2014) – After an extensive search and background work, the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation has hired several experts to assist with preservation work on the Constitutional Elm Monument to include historical research, wood element conservation, and structural preservation.

Lori Arnold and Christopher Stock from Arnold Wood Conservation LLC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will be performing conservation work on the tree remains, implementing a treatment plan that was devised by Andrew Todd from Andrew Todd Conservators Ltd. in Bowen Island, B.C., Canada. Ms. Arnold was selected after an extensive nationwide search for qualified wood conservators. Both Ms. Arnold and Mr. Todd are respected experts in wood conservation and members of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Ms. Arnold visited the site last month to perform some preliminary work, and will return this weekend to continue with the conservation treatment. The work involving the elm tree remnant will probably be complete within a week.

“We're thrilled to have this work under way in order to preserve such an important icon to the history of our state,” said Vice President of Historic Sites of Historic Sites, Bruce Beesley. “We were pleasantly surprised that the prescribed work could be accomplished so quickly and so soon, but July and August are ideal times for this type of work due to the dryer weather.”

CRA Analysts, Inc. of Evansville is preparing a Historic Structure Report for the Constitution Elm Monument, and Arsee Engineers, Inc. of Fishers are preparing an engineering assessment that will guide the restoration of the stone pavilion. “As we prepare for the State's Bicentennial in less than 18 months, it is vital to ensure that these historic sites are preserved in a way that allows them to be around for the next 200 years,” said Beesley. Structural work is expected to be completed by spring of next year. The Constitution Elm Monument was built in 1936 in order to provide for permanent preservation of the remains of the Constitution Elm, under whose shade early legislators drafted Indiana's first constitution in the summer of 1816.

These projects, all parts of the Master Plan for the Corydon Capitol State Historic Site that was unveiled in 2010, will be the subject of an information meeting for the Corydon community that will be held at the Wright Interpretive Center, 126 East Walnut Street, on Wednesday, July 30, at 5:30 pm.

Corydon Capitol State Historic Site is located in Harrison County in southern Indiana. Part of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites, Corydon became the Indiana Territory capitol in 1813 and Indiana's first state capital in 1816. From the square, Federal-style limestone capitol to the brick Governor's headquarters, Corydon is where visitors can discover how the Indiana Territory developed into the great Hoosier state it became. For more information, call 812.738.4890 or email corydoncapitolshs@indianamuseum.org.

Source: The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites

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