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Records Relating to State House Commission | State Archives Catalog

The State House Commission was formed in 1902 by Public Law Chapter 1051 as the successor agency to the Board of State House Commissioners. In 1893, a Board of State House Commissioners was established per 1893 Public Law, Chapter 1201. The duty of this board was to acquire the land for the building of a new State House in Providence, negotiate contracts for construction and furnishings, employ an architect, and give annual reports to the General Assembly of the project’s progress.  In 1892, the firm of McKim, Mead and White of New York City was awarded the design commission and Norcross Brothers Contractors and Builders of Worcester, MA. was commissioned to build the structure.

Abbreviated Timeline:

1890: New commission appointed in regards to new State House construction

1892: The firm of McKim, Mead and White awarded design commission for State House

1893: Creation of a Board of State House Commissioners

1902: State House Commission established

1935: Division of Public Buildings established within the Department of Public Works.  State House Commission dissolved.

1951: Department of Administration established, assumes duties of the Department of Public Works, Division of Public Buildings

Extended Timeline:

1890: New commission appointed in regards to new State House construction

- Governor holds authority to appoint a commission to obtain plans and proposals for the building of a new State House.

-PL 1890, Resolution No. 15 and No. 18 authorizing the Governor to appoint a commission to obtain plans for a new state house, and receive proposals for sites for the same

-“Resolved, That his excellency the governor be, and he is hereby authorized and empowered to appoint a commission of seven persons…who shall be and they are hereby authorized to obtain plans for a new State House, and to receive proposals for sites for the same.”

1890: Initial money for the building of a new State House granted

-PL 1890, chapt. 913: An act authorizing the City of Providence to appropriate two hundred thousand dollars to purchase a site for a state house.

-“The city council of the city of Providence is hereby authorized to appropriate a sum not exceeding two hundred thousand dollars, to purchase a site in the city of Providence for a state house…”

1890: Commission publishes invitation for competition among architects for

designs of a new Rhode Island State House

Competition Published December, 1890; Submissions due March 1, 1891

1890: Commission visits several New England State Houses, specifically Connecticut’s State House in Hartford, in planning the design of Rhode Island’s capital building

1891: Two more members added to existing commission

-PL 1891, Resolution authorizing the governor to appoint two additional members of the commission to obtain plans for a new State House, and receive proposals for sites for the same.

1892: The firm of McKim, Mead and White awarded design commission for State House

1892: State loan to pay for a new State House granted

1892: Proposal to electors for funds to build new State House introduced

-PL 1892, chapt.1093: An act to submit to the electors a proposition for the issue of State House bonds.

-“Shall the General Assembly be authorized and directed to provide for the issue of State bonds in an amount not to exceed the sum of $1,500,000, so much of said sum as may be necessary to be applied to the purchase of a site for, and the erection and completion of, a new State House

1893: Creation of a Board of State House Commissioners

PL 1893, chapt.1201: An act to provide for the creation of a Board of State House Commissioners, to define their duties, and to provide for the issuance of the bonds of the state to an amount not exceeding $1,500,000.

-“[Names of commissioners] are hereby constituted a Board of State House Commissioners, who shall perform the duties specified in this act…Said board shall at once proceed to select and acquire a site for a new state house…”

Duties:

1. Acquire land for new State House

2. Administer all contracts for the constructing and furnishing thereof

3. Employ architect for the task

4. Report to general assembly as to the progress of their duties

1893:Joint Special Committee formed to advise actions to take regarding the construction of State House

-PL 1893, Resolution No. 42 appointing a joint special committee to consider the matter of a new State House.

-“Resolved, That a joint special committee of three members of the senate and five members of the house of representatives be appointed to consider and advise what action shall be taken by this general assembly in view of the vote submitted and adopted by the people of this state…whereby the general assembly was authorized to provide for the issue of state bonds not exceeding $1,500,000, so much of said sum as might be necessary to be applied to the purchase of a site and for the erection and completion of a new state house.”

1894: Board of State House Commissioners granted authority to remove any and all real estate from lot purchased for the site of the new State House

-PL 1894, chapt.1322: An act in amendment of and in addition to chapter 1201 of the public laws.

“-The Board of State House Commissioners may, in such a manner as it may elect, sell and dispose of any buildings, fences, or other appurtenances to the real estate acquired as a site for a state house, or may rent any of said buildings or real estate, until such time as it shall become necessary to remove said building…the sums of money received for such sale or rental shall be by said board paid to the general treasurer.”

1896: Board of State House Commissioners granted the power to make changes in highways surrounding the State House

-PL 1896, chapt.418: An act authorizing the Board of State House Commissioners and the State Board of Education to make certain changes in the highways adjoining the State House and normal school lands.

-“The Board of State House Commissioners and the State Board of Education are hereby authorized and empowered to set off or convey to the city of Providence for highway purposes so much of the state land as may be necessary, in their opinion, to straighten and widen Smith and Francis streets, whenever the city of Providence shall accept the same, for purposes aforesaid, upon such terms and conditions as said boards may determine to be advisable.”

1898: Additional bonds for the construction of a new State House proposed

-PL 1898, chapt.522: An act to submit to the electors a proposition for the issue of State House bonds.

-Proposal submitted to voters of what would be the “Second State House Construction Loan”

1898: Second State House Construction Loan approved, limit placed on Board of State House Commissioners for further spending

-PL 1898, chapt.571: An act to authorize the issuance of bonds to be known as the “Second State House Construction Loan.”

-Loan amounts to (up to) $800,000

-“ Said scrip shall be issued as registered bonds to with interest coupons attached; shall mature not more than forty years from the date of its issue; shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding three per centum per anum, payable semi-annually in gold coin on the United States of the present standard of weight and fineness…The total amount of contracts to be entered into by the Board of State House Commissioners shall not exceed eight hundred thousand dollars in excess of the amount heretofore appropriated.”

1901: All other State Houses stripped of titles

-PL 1901, chapt.852: An act amending sundry chapters of the general laws

-“The building in the city of Newport heretofore used for the purposes of a state house shall hereafter be called the Newport county court-house. The building in Providence heretofore used for the purposes of a state house shall hereafter be called the sixth judicial district court-house. The court-houses in the several counties shall be in the care and custody of the sheriffs of such counties, who shall keep them at all times in suitable condition for holding sessions of court therein…”

1901: Third State House Construction Loan granted, finite limit placed on Board of State House Commissioners for further spending

PL 1901, chapt.814: An act to authorize the issuance of bonds to be known as the “Third State House Construction Loan.”

- Loan amounts to (up to) $700,000

-“Said scrip shall be issued as registered bonds to with interest coupons attached; shall mature not more than forty years from the date of its issue; shall bear interest at a rate not exceeding three per centum per anum, payable semi-annually in gold coin on the United States of the present standard of weight and fineness…The total amount of contracts entered into by the Board of State House Commissioners shall not exceed the sum of seven hundred thousand dollars appropriated by section 3 of this act in addition to the amounts heretofore appropriated.”

1902: State House Commission formed

-PL 1902, chapt.1051: An act creating a State House Commission and providing for the care and maintenance of the State House and grounds.

-“There shall be a state house commission consisting of three members…The state house lot, bounded by Smith, Francis, and Gaspee streets, in the city of Providence, and the buildings thereon, together with all the paintings, portraits, furniture, furnishings, fittings, fixtures, apparatus, and property of all descriptions belonging to the state contained in said buildings, excepting the books of accounts, records, and papers of the different departments and offices, shall be in the care and custody of said commission.”

Duties:

“Care for and maintain in suitable condition for use by the occupants of the state house and by the public, all the property placed in its custody by the provisions of this act.”

Fix the hours for opening and closing the state house, designate number of police officers necessary to guard the building

Arrange to have a restaurant in the State House

1931: State House Commission granted authority to oversee the installation of flood

lights on State House

-PL 1931, chapt.1719: An act in amendment of sections 6, 7 and 8 of chapter 35 of the general laws entitled “Of the State House Commission and providing for the care and maintenance of the State House and grounds,” and making an addition in said chapter authorizing flood lights upon the State House.

-“The said commission is hereby authorized and directed to install flood lights on the state house, so arranged as to illuminate the dome, which shall be illuminated nightly…For the purpose of carrying this act into effect during the period ending June 30, 1931, the sum of twelve thousand dollars is hereby appropriated out of any money in the treasure not otherwise appropriated to be expended by the state house commission for the purpose of installing said flood lights…”

1935: Department of Public Works established with Division of Public Buildings

-PL 1935, chapt.2188: An act to reorganize and consolidate into eleven state departments all existing state boards, bureaus, commissions and administrative agencies, defining their powers and duties and providing for the transfer of all powers and duties conferred by law upon existing administrative agencies of the state government to said eleven state departments.

-Department VI is the Department of Public Works:

Headed by Director of Public Works

Division of Roads and Bridges

Division of Public Buildings

Division of State Airports

Division of Harbors and Rivers

1935: State House Commission dissolved, duties assumed by newly created Department

of Public Works, Division of Public Buildings

-PL 1935, chapt.2250: An act relating to the civil administration of the state government and amending or repealing certain general and public laws.

-“Within [the Department of Public Works] there shall be a division of public buildings. The Director of Public Works shall appoint a chief of such division, who shall have control and supervision of the state house and the state office building…Said chief shall also enforce the provisions of chapter 35 of the general laws, entitled ‘Of the State House Commission and providing for the care and maintenance of the State House grounds,’…wherever in said laws the words “State House Commission” are used they shall be construed to mean the Division of Public Buildings.”

1951: Department of Administration established, assumes duties of the Department of Public Works, Division of Public Buildings

-PL 1951, chapt.2727: An act establishing a Department of Administration and defining its functions

-“There is hereby established within the executive branch of the state government, a Department of Administration…The Department of Administration shall have the following powers and duties…(h) to maintain, equip and keep in repair the State House, State Office Building and other premises owned or rented by the state for the use of any department or agency…In addition, the Department of Administration shall exercise the functions of the Department of Public works in relation to state-owned buildings…”

-Division of Public Buildings now within Department of Administration

1992: State House Restoration and Preservation Account established

-PL 1992, chapt.133, art.80 (RIGL 37-8-6.2): State house restoration and preservation account

-“There is hereby created within the general fund a restricted receipts account known as the state house restoration and preservation account…donations from the state house preservation society, which shall be used exclusively for the restoration, preservation, betterment and benefit of the Rhode Island state house located on Smith Street in Providence, Rhode Island…”

RI General Laws Pertaining to:

RIGL 1909, chapter 37

RIGL 1923, chapter 35

RIGL 1938, chapter 105

RIGL 1956, 37-8-3

Public Laws Pertaining to:

PL 1891, chapt.913; PL 1892, chapt.1093; PL 1893, chapt.1201; PL 1894, chapt.1322; PL 1896, chapt.418; PL 1902, chapt.1051; PL 1927, chapt.953; PL 1931, chapt.1719; PL 1935, chapt.2188, 2250; PL 1939, chapt.660; PL 1951, chapt.2727; PL 1956, chapt.3721; PL 1963, chapt.214; PL 1992, chapt.133; PL 1993, chapt.49

Variant Forms of Agency Name:

Board of State House Commissioners

State House Commission


Records filed under "State House Commission"




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