Vincennes State Historic Sites

1 West Harrison Street | Vincennes, IN.  47591


Walk through Indiana’s oldest city, where territory officials made decisions that changed the future of the entire Midwest. Tour different buildings including the original Territory Capitol building, which was built in 1805, the Jefferson Academy – the first school of higher learning in the state – the Elihu Stout Print Shop, Fort Knox II, the Old French House and more.


Tour the original territorial capitol, which is considered the oldest major government building in the Midwest. The “Red House” was one of three buildings rented by the legislature from 1805 to 1813 and was the meeting place of the legislature in 1811, after the Battle of Tippecanoe. Built in 1805 as a tailor shop, the “Red House” is a small two-story building, its heavy timber frame held together with wooden pegs. In 1813, the territorial government moved to Corydon, which became Indiana’s first state capital when Indiana became a state in 1816.


The Jefferson Academy, which was the first school of higher learning in Indiana and the predecessor of Vincennes University, tells the story of early public education. Founded in 1801 by Governor Harrison, it was the first school of higher learning in Indiana. In 1806, it became Vincennes University. Thomas Jefferson and William Henry Harrison are the only two presidents who have established colleges. The headmaster of the school was the village priest, Father Jean Francois Rivet, former professor of Latin at the Royal College of Limoges, France. Classes took place in the main room of the church rectory, with subjects such as Latin, geometry and geography.


Elihu Stout’s Print Shop represents the power of communication in westward expansion. As the country expanded westward, the distribution of information was crucial to the formation of states. In 1804, Gov. William Henry Harrison brought Elihu Stout to Vincennes to print the laws of the Indiana territory. Stout also printed the laws the legislature enacted to govern the new Louisiana Purchase lands. In July 1804, Stout started the Indiana Gazette, the first newspaper in Indiana, which ran for 41 years. Previously, Stout had been a journeyman printer with the Kentucky Gazette in Lexington.


At the French House, experience an original French Creole style home built circa 1809. It was the home of Michel Brouillet who was born in Vincennes in 1774 and spent most of his life working in the fur trade. During the War of 1812 he served as a scout and messenger between Vincennes and Fort Harrison, near Terre Haute, Indiana. The house is an excellent example of the kind of houses built by the French in the Mississippi Valley in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Unlike the American log cabin with horizontal logs, the French style uses upright posts fitted into a horizontal sill beam.

Additional Details

This location is wheelchair accessible.


Open Wednesday - Sunday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm (ET). *Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, & government holidays.

Admission Details: *Group tours of 10+, please call the Vincennes/Knox Co. Visitors & Tourism Bureau @ 1.800.886.6443 Monday - Friday 8:00am - 4:00pm (ET). *School group rates are available.


Manager: David Weaver

Phone: 812.882.7422

Fax: 812.882.0928


Categories: ,
Scroll to Top