Logo   Rhode Island State House, Providence
The State House is a pleasant sight, its tall dome of white Georgia marble floating over the Providence skyline. Inside, there's a lot of history....

Statue of
Statue of Independent Man atop the Rhode Island State House, Providence RI.



Modeled on the dome of St. Peter's basilica at the Vatican, the State House dome is the world's fourth-largest unsupported dome (St. Peter's is first.)

Rhode Island government was conducted in the Old State House (1762), on North Main Street between North and South Court streets, from 1762 to 1895, when the cornerstone of the new Rhode Island State House was laid at 82 Smith Street.

Whether it is "the most beautiful state capitol in the country," as the state's tourist brochures claim, might be disputed by admirers of 49 other such capitols, but certainly it is one of the more beautiful.

Rhode Island State House, Providence, RI

Inside is the Rhode Island Charter Museum, featuring the Royal Charter (1663) for "Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," other historical documents and artifacts; the State Room with Gilbert Stuart's famous portrait of George Washington; and the Rotunda beneath that huge marble dome.

Visit the State House on any weekday (but not holidays). Allow time for the security check. Tour on your own with a guide pamphlet, or take a free guided tour. More...

Enter by the portal on Smith Street to see display cases filled with battle flags from the state's proud military units which served in the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and the World Wars.

The Tale of the Cannon

Among the military displays is a Civil War cannon that was hit right in the muzzle by another cannon's ball. When the crew tried to charge the cannon again, they put the powder and wad in but couldn't get the ball in. Then they couldn't get the ball out. The gun was retired, but it was only in the 1960s, after the cannon had been in the State House for decades, that someone remembered the gunpowder charge! So after 100 years of being loaded and ready to blow a hole in the wall of the State House, the Civil War cannon was finally de-charged.

Beyond the cannon is the rich, gleaming marble interior and hallways decorated with paintings of the founding fathers of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

—by Tom Brosnahan

What to See & Do

Providence Walking Tour

Hotels in Providence

Providence Restaurants

About Providence

Tourist Information

Rhode Island Highlights

  Paris Girls Secret Society, the new novel by Tom Brosnahan


Rhode Island State House, Providence RI

The Rhode Island State House in Providence.



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