Columbus statute in Columbus Square

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Columbus statute in Columbus Square


Image of black-and-white lantern slide of the Columbus statute in Columbus Square located in Providence, Rhode Island.

Cast in 1893, the statue of Columbus that stands on Elmwood Avenue was produced by the Gorham Manufacturing Company who commissioned master sculptor, Auguste Bartholdi. The bronze cast statue is a cast of the original sterling silver statue commissioned for the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. For the upcoming exposition, Gorham wanted a demonstration piece to show the skill of its foundry and commissioned Bartholdi to create a statue of Columbus. The completed model was shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to be cast from 30,000 ounces of silver at Providence, Rhode Island. The casting was a ceremonial affair, where guests were they "were feted as they watched the process". Gorham officials accompanied and shipped the statue to Chicago via rail. It served as a demonstration piece at the exposition, showcasing the skill of its foundry in a technically difficult to execute sterling silver cast that was also the work of a well-known sculptor. After the exposition, the statue was returned to Providence where it was melted down, the sterling silver statue was impractical as a permanent outdoor sculpture and the piece had already served its celebratory and advertisement purpose.

In 1893, a bronze Columbus was cast by the Gorham company and gifted to the City of Providence by the Elmwood Association, a civic group from a neighborhood near Gorham. It is known that Bartholdi visited Newport, Rhode Island in 1893, but it is unknown if he was involved in the production of the bronze cast. The statue was dedicated on November 8, 1893. According to New England Families, Genealogical and Memorial, Professor Alonzo Williams was the orator for the dedication of the statue. The site of the statue was originally deeded to the Town of Cranston by Joseph Cooke on May 24, 1824. The Town of Cranston deeded it to Providence in 1868 and renamed it Columbus Park in 1893.
Source:  Columbus (Providence, Rhode Island) - From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See also:
A Brief History of Providence City Hall By Paul Campbell, City Archivist

Preston Collection photographs (GRS5.7c), circa 1920-1930

Report of the Commission on the Relocation of Monuments in the City of Providence, Made to the General Assembly at its January Session, 1908, 1908

Rhode Island Historical Preservation Commission:  Statewide Preservation Reports, 1975 - 1982

Various postcards of Providence and Pawtucket, R.I., c. 1918-1919


Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium




Rhode Island State Archives


1915 July 3


Copyright is in the public domain unless otherwise specified. We reserve the right to restrict reproduction of materials due to preservation concerns.





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Roger Williams Park Museum of Natural History and Planetarium, "Columbus statute in Columbus Square," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #420, (accessed July 16, 2019).