Rhode Island State House is the capitol of the
U.S. state of Rhode
Island. It is located on the border of the Downtown and Smith Hill
sections of the state capital city of Providence. The State House is a
neoclassical building that houses the
Rhode Island General Assembly
and the offices of the governor of
Rhode Island as well as the
lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and General Treasurer of
Rhode Island. The building is on the National Register of Historic
3 Christmas at the State House
4 Photo gallery
5 See also
7 External links
The current State House is Rhode Island's seventh state house and the
second in Providence after the Old
Rhode Island State House. It was
designed by the architectural firm of
McKim, Mead, and White
McKim, Mead, and White and
constructed from 1895 to 1904. The building had a major renovation in
the late 1990s.
The building served as the
United States Capitol
United States Capitol exterior in the 1997
film Amistad. It also served as the City Hall of Capital City in
Rhode Island State House is composed of 327,000 cubic feet
(9,300 m3) of white Georgia marble, 15 million bricks, and 1,309
short tons (1,188 t) of iron floor beams.
The dome of the State House is the fourth-largest self-supporting
marble dome in the world, after St. Peter's Basilica, the Minnesota
State Capitol, and the Taj Mahal. On top of the dome is a
gold-covered bronze statue of the Independent Man, originally named
"Hope". The statue, weighing more than 500 pounds (230 kg), is 11
feet (3.4 m) tall and stands 278 feet (85 m) above the
ground. The Independent Man represents freedom and independence and
alludes to the independent spirit which led Roger Williams to settle
and establish Providence and later Rhode Island.
The chamber of the
Rhode Island Senate is located in the east wing of
the building while the chamber of the
Rhode Island House of
Representatives is located in the west wing. Other notable rooms in
the State House include the rotunda (beneath the dome), the State
Library (north end), and the State Room (south end). The State Room is
an entrance area for the office of the governor and contains a
full-scale portrait of
George Washington by
Rhode Island native
Gilbert Stuart. This room is also where the governor has press
conferences and bill signings at the State House.
One of the first public buildings to use electricity, the Rhode Island
State House is lit by 109 floodlights and two searchlights at
Inside the State House is carved marble. Over the pillared porticoes
are quotations and historical chronologies of Rhode Island. Throughout
the rotunda are battle flags, statues, and guns representing the
state's military past. In the center of the rotunda, under the marble
dome, is a brass replica of the state seal.
The building can be seen from I-95, though the
Providence Place Mall
has blocked much of the view from the northbound lanes.
In 2013, Governor Lincoln Chafee's administration started to remove
grass from the eastern side of the Statehouse lawn in order to provide
extra parking for employees. The move was opposed by the Capital
Center Commission, which is a public board designated with the task
of overseeing zoning requirements within the district. Supporters of
the proposed parking say that there is demand from employees and
visitors to the building. Opponents point to existing zoning
requirements that make the surface lot illegal, point to the expense
of providing parking, and advocate an increased presence for transit,
biking, walking, and carpooling instead. The state spent $3.1
million on an adjoining piece of land on Francis Street next to I-95
for parking, which provides 100 parking spots at around $30,000 a
Christmas at the State House
The State House tree in 2013
It is an annual State House tradition to feature a
Christmas tree and
community and cultural holiday displays each December. A
Fraser fir or
Balsam fir is erected in the large central rotunda and decorated. The
tree, donated by a local family or tree farm, is typically between 17
and 25 feet tall. Rhode Island's State House tree has sometimes
been the subject of media attention:
In 2005, the tree was removed from the rotunda after a treatment of
flame retardant caused the needles to fall out.
In 2011 and 2012, Bishop Thomas J. Tobin and others objected to the
wording on tree-lighting ceremony invitations, which referred to the
tree as a "holiday" tree; in 2013, Governor Chafee changed the wording
to "Christmas" tree.
In 2016, a 14-foot Fraser Fir was deemed to be too small for the
rotunda. A replacement 20-foot tree was placed in the rotunda, and
the smaller tree moved to the south steps.
In 2017, the rotunda's 25-foot Fraiser Fir made national headlines
when it began dropping needles "at an alarming rate," after being on
display for three weeks. The sickly tree was replaced with a
smaller (12-foot) tree.
Since 2014, holiday displays from "any
Rhode Island area-based
religious or secular group" have been featured on the first and second
floors. Participating groups have included local religious,
ethnic, and secular organizations.
Rhode Island State House at sunset
The State House in front of
Providence Place Mall
State House across the plaza in front of Veterans Memorial Auditorium
From front left
Ceiling of the rotunda, showing four personified values with Latin
names. (Here: Educatio, Iustitia, Commercia, Litera.)
Cannon at front entrance to capitol
The day after a 9/11 vigil, with giant flag
"Independent Man" atop the dome of the Providence State House.
State House lit in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October
National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places listings in Providence, Rhode
^ "Cupolas of Capitalism: State Capitol Building Histories: States
from P to S". Cupola. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
^ a b c "Facts and Figures". State of
Rhode Island General Assembly.
Archived from the original on May 15, 2012. Retrieved January 10,
^ "The Providence Heritage Trail". VisitRhodeIsland.com (Rhode Island
Tourism Division). Archived from the original on September 3, 2012.
Retrieved January 10, 2014.
^ a b Grimaldi, Paul (October 16, 2013). "Capital Center chairman
opposed to more parking near R.I. State House". The Providence
Journal. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
^ Nickerson, Jef (October 18, 2013). "State defiantly moves ahead with
surface parking". Greater City Providence. Retrieved January 10,
^ Kennedy, James (February 21, 2013). "Guest post: Parking reform
should start at the State House". Greater City Providence. Archived
from the original on February 2013. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
^ Rachel, James (November 2011). "Dear Audubon Society..." Transport
Providence. Retrieved January 10, 2014.
^ Grimaldi, Paul (July 2, 2013). "R.I. will pay $3.1M for land across
from State House". The Providence Journal. Retrieved January 10,
^ a b c d Anderson, Patrick (22 November 2016). "State House Christmas
tree didn't measure up, so it got replaced". The Providence Journal.
Retrieved 24 November 2016.
^ McKinney, Mike (2 December 2013). "After 'holiday tree' controversy,
Chafee now calls RI State House tree a 'Christmas tree'". The
Providence Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
^ Bender, John (18 December 2017). "After A Moment In The Spotlight,
RI Statehouse Christmas Tree Comes Down".
Rhode Island Public Radio.
Retrieved 19 December 2017.
^ Anderson, Patrick (18 December 2017). "Dead
Christmas tree is
replaced at R.I. State House". The Providence Journal. Retrieved 20
^ a b Gregg, Katherine (27 November 2015). "Holiday displays at the
State House: Open to all, but follow the rules". The Providence
Journal. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Rhode Island State House.
Rhode Island State House Tour
Rhode Island State House, 90 Smith Street, Providence, Providence, RI
Historic American Buildings Survey
Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS)
Tallest Building in Providence
Industrial Trust Building
Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
Buildings and structures
New Shoreham (Block Island)
State and territorial capitol buildings in the United States
District of Columbia
Northern Mariana Islands
United States Virgin Islands
Skyscrapers in Providence, Rhode Island
Industrial National Bank Building
One Financial Plaza
The Residences Providence
Omni Providence Hotel
Textron World Headquarters
50 Kennedy Plaza
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of
Rhode Island Headquarters
Rhode Island State House
Omni Biltmore Hotel
Providence County Courthouse
Turk's Head Building
One Citizens Plaza
Sciences Library (Brown University)
The Sister Dominica Manor
The Empire at Broadway
Hope Point Towers
See also: List of tallest buildings in Providence
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Architectural style categories
History of the National Register of Historic Places
Keeper of the Register
National Park Service
Lists by states
Lists by insular areas
Minor Outlying Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
Lists by associated states
Federated States of Micronesia
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