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Agreeably to a resolution adopted by this Honorable body at its last May Session, the State of Rhode Island entertained the President of the United States, several members of his Cabinet and a distinguished party accompanying him, with appropriate hospitalities. The joint committee, appointed by you, discharged its duties with ability and courtesy, and will render at the present session a report of their doings and expenditures, which were approved by me as decorous and reasonable. The President has since expressed to me by letter his appreciation of our welcome and entertainment, and alludes to it as one of the pleasantest excursions of his life. On that occasion, at the request of the leading military officers of the State, I ordered a parade and review of the entire militia, which resulted most satisfactorily, although I was compelled by General Order to substitute this parade for the Annual Fall Muster, since I was unwilling to subject the Treasury to the extraordinary expense of the two occasions.

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Senators and Representatives :

I have pleasure in welcoming you to a renewal of your legislative labors, and in conclusion let us invoke the divine blessing upon our united efforts for the safety, honor and welfare of the State.








To the Hon. General Assembly at the May Session, 1877.

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The joint committee appointed at the last session to examine into the condition of the State House at Providence, beg to report that for the

purpose of facilitating their investigations they availed themselves of the professional services of Mr. Alfred Stone, the well-known architect of Providence, who, after a preliminary inspection of the building in company with the committee, received from us directions to make a thorough examination and render such a report as would enable us to properly consider the matter referred to us.

Your committee, who subsequently witnessed the careful and thorough work of examination made by Mr. Stone and his assistants, feel confident that his communication will prove more satisfactory to the General Assembly, than a mere abstract by ourselves, and hence present it herewith as a part of our report.

From the communication of Mr. Stone, we find that the State House is now in an unsafe condition, and, in certain respects, absolutely requires attention previous to the next January session.

The accidents which have quite recently occurred in various places, owing to a deficent support in public buildings, resulting in some instances in loss of life, enhance the requirements of the present case, and in our judgment, any delay in placing the iron support, and in shoring the roof, as suggested by Mr. Stone, would be inexcusable.

We present herewith a plan prepared by Mr. Stone, showing the deflection of the floor, the position of the present support to the truss, and also a drawing of the proposed iron support which we deem indispensable.

The expense of these repairs, which should be undertaken immediately, will probably not exceed Seven Hundred Dollars. (8700.)

Before deciding to proceed further in any alterations or repairs, it is desirable to know what is the future policy of the State in regard to the State House in Providence. The discussion of this question in the General Assembly, at various times during the last ten years, has developed varying sentiments, some favoring an entirely new building on the present or another site, others preferring an additional building with alterations to the present one.

The sentiment is unanimous, that the building in its present condition, is not adapted to the requirements of the State, and that the halls for the Senate and House of Representatives are not sufficiently spacious and well ventilated to admit of the proper transaction of the legislative business. During the last session members of both houses were rendered ill by the foul air they were compelled to breathe, owing to the ill-contrived and inadequate means of ventilation.

If the present State House is to be used for several years longer, the alterations and improvements suggested by Mr. Stone, should be undertaken at the earliest practicable period, whatever the cost may be. If, however, the General Assembly should decide that a new State House will be required at an early period, we should deem it inexpedient to expend any money upon alterations other than those which we have recommended as absolutely indispensable to safety.

In the event of a decision to alter and repair the building for permanent occupation, we would recommend that a committee be appointed who shall have full power to direct the work in an economical but at the same time thorough manner, so that the old building with all its historic associations of the past century, may become a safe

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repository for the archives of the State, and a convenient and suitable place for the transaction of the business of legislation.

All of which is respectfully submitted by your committee.

H. W. GARDNER, Chairman.
A. 0. BOURN,

PROVIDENCE, May 21st, 1877. To Henry W. Gardner, Nathan T. Verry, Augustus 0. Bourn,

Henry H. Fay and Earl C. Potter:

GENTLEMEN :-In accordance with your instructions, we have examined the State House in this city as carefully as we could, without having portions of the floors taken up and the plastering removed, to ascertain its present condition with reference to the necessary repairs and proposed alterations of the same, under the resolution passed at the January session of the General Assembly, and would respectfully report :

That we find portions of the State House very much out of repair, and in the successive changes which have been made in the building, superfluous timber has been left, with no work to perform, which might have been removed, and although it will require great care to determine what is of service, it is patent to a casual observer that there is much timber there now which adds simply to the weight to be carried, without increasing the strength of the building, and also that there is a deficiency of support in certain places where it is imperatively needed. The floor of the rooms over the Law Library shows the most marked deficiency of support, caused principally, we suppose, by the excessive load upon that floor when the whole edition of the Revised Statutes was packed in a small room in the third story on the east side of the building. Whatever may have been the cause, we find that a truss placed in a partition in the third story over the room for the Law Library has given away partially, or its support is inadequate, causing a deflection of two and a half inches in a span of twenty-five feet, so that we dcem it positively unsafe.

We also find the floors of other parts of the building badly settled, and supporting columns have been put in from time to time to prevent possible disaster. We doubt if there is any immediate danger, although we cannot shut our eyes to the fact that time and decay add to the risk, and we deem a thorough examination of all the floors a necessary precaution.

The roof of the last addition to the building is inadequately supported and should be temporarily shored, if nothing more is done, to prevent a possible accident from any excessive strain which might be brought upon it from a sudden wind pressure, from an accumulation of snow, or any unforeseen contingency.

The furnaces and chimneys are in a very unsatisfactory condition; the furnaces being of insufficient capacity are often, during the sessions of the General Assembly, driven to such a degree as to render them positively dangerous, and evidences of incipient fires and the escape of smoke from the flues are easily detected.

We also find that the staircase leading to the third story is not in a condition to bear the strain of a sudden and unusual load which might be unexpectedly brought upon it.

In this review of the present condition of the building we have only touched upon those things which are not in a “proper condition of safety.”

The changes which you are requested to report upon, if carried out, would, of themselves, if properly executed, strengthen the building, and would afford the desired opportunity to give such additional supports as a fuller investigation might make apparent.

The Senate chamber covers a portion only of the original hall of the House of Representatives, which was divided so as to give the passage through the building, which now separates the offices of the Secretary of State from the Senate Chamber.

When that change was made the ceilings of the passage and Senate chamber were lowered, but we find upon examination that a large part of the curved ceiling of the original hall still remains. We think the best plan for the enlargement of the Senate chamber is simply to remove the partition on the south end of the Senate Chamber, tear down the present flat ceilings, remove the timber which supports it and restore the old ceiling.

It will probably be found that some sticks of timber have been cut away which will have to be replaced, but as far as we can see there will be no difficulty in doing it and the result would be eminently satisfactory.

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