Woman on the State House Dome

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Woman on the State House Dome


Image of the original 1895 McKim, Mead & White Elevation Plan of Rhode Island State House, depicting [Independent] Woman atop the dome.

The Rhode Island State Capital 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 Places.

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 and constructed from 1895 to 1904. The building had a major renovation in the late 1990s.

The building served as the United States Capitol exterior in the 1997 film Amistad. It also served as the City Hall of Capital City in Disney's Underdog.

The 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 night.

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.
Source: Rhode Island State House From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

See also:
Extract From Annual Report of the State House Commission, 1920

Report of the Joint Special Committee on the Cove Lands, Made to the General Assembly at its January Session A.D. 1868, 1868

Report of the Special Committee on a Site for a New State House made to the General Assembly at the January Session, 1873

State House Commission records, 1890-1935

Records Created by State House Commission (Rhode Island)

Library of Congress: Rhode Island State House, 90 Smith Street, Providence, Providence County, RI


McKim, Mead & White Architects


Rhode Island State Archives




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McKim, Mead & White Architects, "Woman on the State House Dome," in Virtual Exhibits, Item #746, http://sos.ri.gov/virtualarchives/items/show/746 (accessed October 15, 2019).