Thursday June 12
Today I finally got to go sightseeing. I went to downtown Providence. I learned about the history of the Providence river. Providence was founded in 1636 on two rivers and the river basin was just a cove until the 19th century when the land was filled in more and more. The cove was all filled in by the end of the 19th century when railroads replaced shipping as the main industry.
I stood on a spot that was underwater for 4 centuries!
Now it is a pretty park with cobblestone walks, Venetian style bridges, a stone amphitheater and summer parties with fires on the water, music, dancing and entertainments.
Next we went on a tour of the Statehouse. It was built between 1895-1904 of white marble. The dome is the 4th largest unsupported dome in the world. On top is the Independent Man statue. It is made from gold-covered bronze and stands 313 feet above sea level. The Independent Man is a symbol of the independent spirit and freedom which led exiled minister Roger Williams to settle in Rhode Island and create a place for freedom of worship.
I stood in front of a brass replica of the State Seal. It is embedded in the marble floor. An achor is shown in the middle of the seal and is a symbol of hope. Above the anchor is the word "hope". The motto comes from a famous quote from the state founder, Roger Williams. The anchor is also used because Rhode Island is the Ocean State.
Inside the Statehouse, I saw a replica of the Liberty Bell, some big guns used in the Civil War, statues of famous Rhode Island people and even got to peer inside the Senate Chamber.
You can take a virtual tour of the Statehouse here http://www.rilin.state.ri.us/statehousetour/index.htm