Today we made the relatively short car trip from Foxborough to Providence to tour Rhode Island's State House, the 49th in our quest for visit all 50.
Rhode Island's current State Capitol building is its seventh state house and the second in Providence after the Old Rhode Island State House.
Situated prominently on Smith Hill, the State Capitol building is the most visible landmark in the city.
Internet Aerial Photo
The cornerstone was laid in 1895
and State House was finally completed in1901. The building in 330 feet long, 180 feet wide and stands 235 feet in height. Constructed of white Georgia marble with a central dome and two wings in which the Senate and House chambers are located, similar to the nation’s capital. the Rhode Island State House is constructed of 327,000 cubic feet of white Georgia marble, 15 million bricks, and 1,188 tons of iron floor beams
Quotations and chronologies of the history of the state are carved into the marble over the porticoes.
Atop the dome stands the gold-covered “Independent Man”, a 15 foot statue weighing 5,000 lbs. and standing 278 feet above the ground.
Apparently, the original intent was to have a statue of Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island, but no likenesses of him existed. The sculpture originally intended to name the statue "Hope", but once in place, a local newspaper used the name Independence Man in an article. And it stuck! The statue freedom, independence and religious tolerance and alludes to the independent spirit which led Roger Williams to settle and establish Providence Plantation and later the Colony of Rode Island and Providence Plantations..
While the main entrance is located on State Street on the north side of the building
It's dome is the fourth largest self supporting marble dome in the world. The largest is St. Peter's in the Vatican, followed by the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul and the Taj Mahal in Agra, India
the Capitol’s official front is its south façade.
Commodore Oliver Perry
General Nathanel Greene
Flanking the security aera as you enter the building are two Civil War cannons.
The heat from the prior firing of the cannon and strike from Confederate shot resulted in the next ball being inserted in to the Union cannon to beomce stuck. After residing in the State House for decades, a tourist visiting the Capitol in the 1960s remembered that before loading a cannon ball, black powder needed to be put down the muzzle of the cannon … and that it was highly likely there was powder still inside it. Further, over time any powder in the gun might become more unstable and might be subject to heating to a point it could explode. So, the cannon was removed to a safe place where small holes were drilled into the canon where it was discovered that it did contain black powder. It was removed and the cannon discharged and rendered safe before returning it to the State House
On the same level across the building were …
Rhode Island's Liberty Bell replica
John Sullivan (1740 – 1795) was an Irish-American Revolutionary War Major General and delegate to the Continental Congress, Governor of New Hampshire. He was the third son of American settlers. He commanded the Sullivan Expedition in 1779, a scorched-earth campaign against the Iroquois towns that had taken up arms against the American revolutionaries. In early 1778 he was transferred Rhode Island where he led Continental troops and militia It was intended he work together with a French Navy fleet to assault or besiege British-held Newport, RI which was regarded as extremely vulnerable since France's entry into the war. The attempt was called off when the French fleet was scattered and damaged by a storm. Owing to the damage to his ships, and discouraged by the arrival of a British fleet the French withdrew to Boston. The debacle did not badly affect Sullivan's career, and he was considered as a potential commander for a possible invasion of Canada.
There are two ways of acccessing the second floor, the elevator with its original decorative brass doors
to the enormous rotunda.
In the center of the floor is a gold State Seal
In 1664 The Rhode Island General Assembly first adopted a seal for its colony. It contained an anchor with the word "Hope" (the colony's, now state's motto) above it. The use of the word "Hope" was probably inspired by the biblical phrase "hope we have as an anchor of the soul." The seal also contains Rhode Island's full name: "Seal of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" (the longest name of any state).
Naarby is a compass rose
Then looking upward to the 50-foot wide rotunda
Near the top of the rotunda dome is a beautiful mural depicting Roger Williams colonizing Providence Plantaion, making peace with the native tribes, and surrounded by fellow colonists and natives, including Narragansette Sachem Canonicus
At the top of the four columns which support the dome are murals depicting four values of the State
Ceiling above the the third floor halls surrounding the rotunda
Looking toward the second floor State Reception Room from the third floor
The State Reception Room, part of Governor's office and a formal reception area for many official funcitons, is the most elegant part of the State House.
It has a dramatic, gilded high ceiling, gold-crowned marble pilasters,
original red velvet covered seating around the perimeter of the room
a memorial box to the Battle of Iwo Jima
The two vials on the left contain sand from the 1945 beaches of Iwo Jima
and four large paintings of
War of 1812 hero, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry
Commodore John Barry, generally considered the "father of the U.S. Navy"
The State Library … which is unusual as it is open to the public, although not for lending … is a magnificanly decorated room which contains roughly 30,000 volumes and has the offical documents of the United States as well as the Colony's and later State's records and legislative and judicial history (just a third of the State's total volumes).
Spiral stair cases in the four corners of the room
The oldest volume (far left) dates to 1636
The plasters are emblellished with golf-leaf reproductions of 16 printer's marks of famous printers who worked their craft in Eurpoe from roughly 1474 to 1620.
Library's official clock
Both the Senate and House chambers are undergoing major refurbrising
Along the hallways are a number of statues honoring each of the branches of our Armed Forces
and busts, plaques and paitings (inluding all of the State's governors) of famous people.
Giovanni da Verrazzano was an Italian explorer of North America, in the service of King Francis I of France. He is renowned as the first European to explore the Atlantic coast of North America between Florida and New Brunswick in 1524, including New York Bay and Narragansett Bay. When he saw Narragansett Bay, he commented that it reminded him of Rhodes in the Mediteranean … thus it helped define the state's ultimate name.
Governor WIlliam Sprague IV who while serving as governor when the Civil War broke out volunteered for service and proclaimes his heorism … although memners of the Rohde Island regiments with which Sprague said he served had no knowledge of ever seeing him.
There are four books in which are listed the names of all Rhode Islanders who died during World War II
Historically, the "Museum" is the most interesting. It contains many original artifacts and historical documents. However as they are kept under special environmental and lighting conditions, photography was extremely difficult.
Our trip to and from Providence produced a few humorous and other sights of interest.
Some of the narrow strets in the area of the Old State House
St. John Episcopal Church
Temple of Restoration Church in neighboring Pawtucket
Local Hotel "mascot"