-Original gas lamps still adorn 5th floor archives-



When City Hall first opened, the fifth floor housed the janitor and his family. Part of the janitor's job was to wind the clocks and light the gas lamps that filled City Hall. The original gas lamp fixtures can still be seen in the archivist's office.

The remainder of the fifth floor was used by the City Engineer and for the storage of large batteries that powered the citywide fire alarm system. Extensive renovations of the roof area took place in 1914, when more floor space was added, and the number of windows on the fourth floor was increased. Later, a row of windows on the second floor of archives were blacked out during the air raid alerts of WWII. The fifth floor became the home of Providence City Hall's Archives, where it remains today, open to visitors.

Clearly the officials and visionaries of Providence who helped build City Hall felt an enormous sense of pride in this architectural accomplishment. To tour this building today from its grand entrance to its expansive interior is to revisit that civic pride, savor its architectural sensitivity, and reaffirm its historic preservation.