Water-powered elevator carried 50

Four coal-fired boilers of 50 horsepower each provided heat for the building. The boilers also supplied energy to operate a water-powered elevator, capable of carrying up to 50 passengers at one time. The elevator was built with electric bells at each landing so that it could be summoned to the desired floor.

City Hall was without electricity at this time, so to keep clocks accurate and uniform, a central control mechanism was installed. It operated in a fashion similar to a grandfather clock, and each morning would be wound up by the janitor. It sent battery powered signals to other clocks in the building. Although the building was wired for electricity shortly after its construction, the clock mechanism remains in place and can be seen in the fifth floor Archives.

Alderman's Chamber circa 1878.
Notice the spittoons on the floor at left.


The original grandeur of the building continues to provide elegance to its utilitarian purpose. Surrounding the central staircourt are corridor walkways 12 feet wide, inlaid with decorative marble. Much of the interior decor remains, including light-colored wood wainscoating, etched glass windows in many office doors, polished granite columns, cast iron stair railings and brass handrails.
Some original design functions have become obsolete over time.
Around the sides of the staircourt were panes of glass to channel smoke into grates in the walls in case of a fire. The gratesopened to the building exterior. In 1886 on the 250th anniversary of the Founding of Providence. Notice flagpoles in the dome and the Civil War Soldiers' Memorial in its original location.

The original main floor included a reception room and the office for the City Messenger. His office contained an elaborate array of communication devices, 50 speaking tubes, 50 electric bells and 50 annunciators which connected to all departments. Next to the Messenger's Office was an ornate reception room, 23 feet by 33 feet, with large mirrors hung at each end of the room. The walls were finished in mahogany and stamped leather.