Fifth floor housed janitor and his family

The fifth floor living quarters for the janitor and his family included a kitchen, parlor, two bedrooms and a bath. The remainder of the fifth floor was used by the City Engineer and for storage. The upper levels of the building are within a high, convex, mansard slate roof that rises above the parallel-eaved parapet. Fashioned into the mansard dome are ornamental bulls-eye dormers.

The mansard roof area is reached by an iron stairway from the fifth floor where, originally, large batteries were stored to generate electricity for the city-wide fire alarm system and for the operation of the clocks and bells in the building. Another flight of stairs led to a higher area in the mansard dome which was also used for storage.

Also in this area were the mechanisms for manually retracting and extending large flagpoles through the dome on the Washington and Fulton Street sides. The mechanisms are still in place and operational, but the flagpoles remain retracted. It was found that the swirling downtown winds generated by the mix of weather, narrow streets, and tall buildings wrap the flags around both poles and keep them from hanging free.

In 1914 renovations were made to the fifth floor, and additional windows were installed. During World War II, a row of windows inside the dome was blacked out so that no light would attract attention to the building and make it a target for enemy bombing raids. The fifth floor today remains the working and storage area for City Hall's Archives and several other departments.

Over the years Providence City Hall steps have been a landmark gathering spot for the people of Providence. Theodore Roosevelt delivered an address here in August 1902, and John F. Kennedy spoke in November of 1960. In 1916 Providence hosted a 6 1/2 hour World War I

Living Flag - 1,560 school children participated in this June 3, 1916 "call for preparedness" event declared nationwide by President Woodrow Wilson. Over 52,000 people took part in the 6 1/2 hour Providence parade. As part of the human mosaic, Civil War Veterans lined each side of the Living Flag.

Preparedness Parade in response to President Woodrow Wilson's call for America to ready itself for war in Europe. A review stand for the parade was set up in front of City Hall, and 1,560 children, Civil War veterans and band members performed patriotic songs and shaped a gigantic "living flag" on a scaffolding above the front steps.