PROVIDENCE, RI – Governor Dan McKee today announced that the Independent Man and the cupola atop the Rhode Island State House dome will undergo an important, historic repair and preservation effort which will include the Independent Man temporarily moving from atop the dome for the first time since 1975 and for only the second time in the state's history.
"The Independent Man is an iconic symbol of our state and a source of pride for all Rhode Islanders," said Governor Dan McKee. "The statue has weathered decades of storms, blizzards and hurricanes, and it is important that we use this opportunity to invest in the People's House and preserve the Independent Man for generations of Rhode Islanders and visitors to enjoy."
The decision to embark on this specific preservation and repair effort came this week after a team of state employees captured footage of the State House dome that showed the marble base supporting the Independent Man had begun to separate. The employees were documenting the State House cleaning and restoration project initiated by Governor McKee. The footage was captured before crews began cleaning work on the dome and the area surrounding the Independent Man.
Today, the State is taking immediate action to secure the statue and the base. A crane and work crew were on site early Friday morning. It is anticipated the initial work to secure the statue will be completed before the arrival of any potential adverse weather related to Hurricane Lee. The State will consult with experts in the field to determine next steps for repair.
After the initial work to secure the statue is complete and the full plan for the restoration and preservation is finalized, the Independent Man will be temporarily removed from atop the State House dome. The Administration will be developing options to display the statute for the general public to enjoy before it is reunited to its base atop the State House.
"We are grateful that our surveillance of the building revealed the damage to his base, allowing us to act quickly to safeguard this important piece of Rhode Island history and address any damage to the statue's marble base before it could become a safety issue," said Jonathan Womer, Director of the Department of Administration.
The Independent Man, designed by artist George Brewster and cast by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence, is covered in gold leaf and the statue is 11 feet tall weighing more than 500 pounds.
For the safety of the work crews, the State is asking members of the press and residents not to fly drones or other devices near the Independent Man or State House dome while work is being done to secure the statue.
Photos and drone footage are available upon request.