~ Providence, Rhode Island ~

This was my second visit to Providence. My first visit, in 2001, is here. This trip to Providence was solely to visit the State House. My visit of 2001 was pretty much a rat race. I was still working and my time there was limited.

Providence is the capital and most populous city in Rhode Island and was one of the first cities established in the United States (1636). It is situated at the mouth of the Providence River, at the head of Narragansett Bay, the city's small footprint is crisscrossed by seemingly erratic streets and contains a rapidly changing demographic. I can vouch for those seemingly erratic streets. Providence was founded in 1636 by Roger Williams, a religious exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Once nicknamed the "Beehive of Industry," Providence began rebranding itself as the "Creative Capital" in 2009 to emphasize its educational resources and arts community.

Although the west bank of the Providence River was later claimed by both the English and the Dutch, the actual inhabitants and true masters of the region were the Pokanoket Tribe of the Wampanoag Nation led by Massasoit Ousamequin. Williams secured permission to settle from the Pokanoket and gave the city its present name. Williams' Providence soon became a refuge for persecuted religious dissenters, as he himself had been exiled from Massachusetts. It, like Newport, was very active in the slave trade triangle.

The population of Providence peaked in 1940, as did many older cities in New England, due to a nationwide period of rapid suburbanization. The population steadily declined until 1990, when it began slowly increasing again.

Providence was one of the first cities to industrialize in the United States. By 1830, the city had manufacturing industries in metals, machinery, textiles, jewelry, and silverware. Though manufacturing has declined, the city is still one of the largest centers for jewelry and silverware design and manufacturing. Services, particularly education, health care, and finance, also make up a large portion of the city's economy. Providence also is the site of a sectional center facility, a regional hub for the U.S. Postal Service. Since it is the capital of Rhode Island, Providence's economy additionally consists of government services.

The Rhode Island 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 the 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 constructed between 1895 and 1904. The building had a major renovation in the late 1990s. Construction is mainly white Georgia marble and 15 million bricks.

A view from Capitol Hill

On the left is the Justice William E. Powers Building, The Department of Administration at One Capitol Hill. On the right the State House and a part of the grounds. I would not want to be the one charged with cutting that lawn, of which you can only see about one-third.

The Gettysburg Gun

Inside and up into the dome
During the Civil War, there were several different types of field cannon developed prior to and during the war with many different nomenclatures. The Gettysburg Gun, a 12-pounder bronze gun of 1857 design, was commonly referred to as the Napoleon. This bronze smoothbore cannon fired a twelve-pound ball and was considered a light gun although each weighed an average of 1,200 pounds. This powerful cannon could fire explosive shell and solid shot up to a mile and charges of canister up to 300 yards with accuracy. The Napoleon was a favorite amongst some Northern artillery, because of its firepower and reliability. Two Union batteries armed with Napoleons at Gettysburg were very effective in holding back Confederate infantry attacks and knocking down opposing southern batteries. Battery G, 4th US Artillery repeatedly slowed Confederate infantry attacks against the Eleventh Corps line on July 1, while Battery G, 1st Ohio Light Artillery almost annihilated two Confederate batteries with accurate and punishing counter-battery fire at long distance. Most Union Napoleons were manufactured in Massachusetts by the Ames Company and the Revere Copper Company. Confederate industry replicated the Napoleon design at several foundries in Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. The Confederate design differed slightly from Union-made guns but fired the same twelve pound shot, shell and canister rounds used in Union manufactured guns.
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." 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.

Bell from the U.S.S. Rhode Island

Rhode Island's Replica Liberty Bell
The current USS Rhode Island, is a United States Navy Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine which has been in commission since 1994. She is the third U.S. Navy ship to be named for Rhode Island. This bell is from the second USS Rhode Island, a Virginia-class battleship of the United States Navy. She was commissioned on 19 February 1906. Rendered incapable of any further warlike service on 4 October 1923 in accordance with the Washington Naval Treaty limiting naval armaments, this Rhode Island was sold for scrap on 1 November 1923.

Rhode Island House of Representatives Chambers

Rhode Island Senate Chambers

Providence skyline from Capitol Hill

When I left Providence and parked at the Walmart in North Kingston, I found that I needed fresh water and a dump station. So I drove to the Burlingame State Park to rest and get replenished. It was very peaceful there. The next morning, I headed for New London, Connecticut.

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