On the Road with Tom and Gloria travel blog

Capitol Building

Gettysburg Gun and Original Flags

Welcome to Federal Hill



Venda Ravioli - a great deli

Lunch at the old Canteen

Spent today in Providence - the capitol of RI . We have taken walking tours of the town but we have never visited the Capitol building. We made the 11:00 tour. The outside of the building was used as the exterior of the US Capitol Building in the 1997 movie Amistad. The lit chandelier in the rotunda is only lit on special occasions. Today was special because of the election of a new president yesterday. It gets lit about twice a year. The dome is the fourth largest self supporting dome after St.Peter's Basillica, the Minnesota State Capitol, and the Taj Mahal. Pretty good company!

There are Italian marble statues around the second floor depicting a member of each of the branches of service that fought in WWII and honor roll books made of bronze that list every serviceman from RI who gave his life in that same war.

The State Library is open to the public but no books can leave the building. There are two spiral staircases that go two levels up from the floor. They are original as are the desks that the part time legislature use in the House and Senate .

Not much adornment - very little art work. The only art we saw were the Four Freedoms murals in the dome and , in the State Room , the famous 1802 portrait by Gilbert Stuart ( a RI native) of George Washington . In a temperature controlled safe they have the Royal Charter of 1663 where King Charles II guaranteed freedom of religion and the right to self government. No other colony was granted such freedoms. It was impressive to see the very large original document on parchment paper.(Flash photography was not permitted).

In the lobby there is 1 of 6 cannons used by the First Rhode Island Light Infantry at the Battle of Gettysburg. Two men were reloading this gun just before it was struck by a Confederate Shell. You can still see the dent! The two men died and the muzzle of the gun was altered by the heat of the explosion. Other soldiers tried to reload the gun but couldn't because as the barrel cooled it shrunk and wedged the cannonball inside where it remains until today.

The gun was originally on display in Washington DC but in 1874, at the request of Battery B veterans, it was returned to RI. In 1962, someone realized that since the cannonball was still in the muzzle of the gun two and a half pounds of black gunpowder must still be inside the barrel. The RI National Guard Army Corps of Engineers drilled holes in the barrel and submerged it in water so that the powder was safely removed. Unbelievable! In the case behind the cannon are disintegrating RI battle flags from wars dating back to the Revolution. Such a shame that they don't find a way to preserve them.

Off to Federal Hill - the Little Italy of Providence. We had an interesting lunch at the Old Canteen. The food was so-so but we felt like we were in a Godfather movie with everyone coming over to pay their respects to the three men at the table next to us.

We walked the neighborhood - notice the green and red stripes down the center of the street- and went into many shops ( mostly food shops!) Found an espresso shop with wonderful Italian pastry. The sky suddenly clouded up so we headed back to the car. Got there just before the rain started. It is still raining and the forecast is for this to continue for three days. Yikes!

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