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Walk through town sheds light on state’s formation

I might be new to this area, but I’m old hat at relying on Indiana.
In Owensboro, Ky., where I was born and lived almost all my life, we were just right across the river from the bustling metropolis of Evansville (or at least it seemed bustling compared to Owensboro). My husband is from the next county over, Hancock, and he was frequently in Tell City, shopping for groceries at Wal-Mart or getting fast food (his hometown of Pellville had neither of those things). So, for us, living in Brandenburg is not much different than what we’re used to ‘ a bigger Indiana town right across the river for our shopping and entertainment needs.
So when my editor here at the newspaper asked me to accompany Karen Gleitz on one of her walking tours of Corydon, I thought, ‘Sure! Maybe I’ll get to know the streets a bit better and, besides, getting out of the office on a Friday afternoon is always a plus!’
What I didn’t know was how much history I would learn in a short hour jaunt through the streets near the square.
Gleitz guided a tour to nine buildings that were in Corydon during the Capitol period (1816-1825) that are still here today. Gleitz was leading a group from the Historic Landmark Foundation as part of its regional meeting in Corydon. I attached myself to the group and, happily, they welcomed me.
We started, of course, at the First State Capitol. I had seen this building before, since I work across the street from it, and I was familiar with the story of Corydon being the first state capitol. What could I learn from this stop on the tour?
Plenty. And it wasn’t just the information being provided to me. It was standing in the square, imagining how it must have looked back then and the struggles of moving the contents of the capitol in January (which I learned from Gleitz’s historical narration). The tour moved on to the old Branham Tavern, a place I pass everyday and hadn’t given much attention. Next was the Westfall House, by the Constitution Elm on West High Street. Then we walked to Adams Payne House, just out the back door of my place of employment. From there, we hoofed it to Posey House, Heth House, the First State office building, Hendrick’s house and Cedar Glade.
I can only thank Gleitz for pointing out things like the two-story structure formerly owned by William Henry Harrison before it turned into a tavern, the home where more than 10 children were raised, the home lived in by a former governor and, overall, I thank her for just making me pay attention to the buildings I pass everyday and enlightening me on their rich histories. To see those buildings and to know they’ve been around, some of them for almost 200 years, gives the community a sense of strength that comes from longevity and it can bind those who live and work here with a sense of pride and duty to keep those anachronistic buildings preserved and protected.
Imagine in another 200 years what Corydon could become.
As for so many western Kentuckians, including me, Corydon used to be the place to stop on the way to Louisville. Now I have a better understanding of its historical value and the pride that the town, as well as the county, share in the formation of the state of Indiana.

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