Roger Williams Monument, Providence

Roger Williams Monument, ProvidenceRhode island founder Roger Williams is honored with a monument in, fittingly enough, Providence’s Roger Williams Park.

The monument, dedicated in 1877, depicts a standing Williams holding a book inscribed with the words “soul” and “liberty”.

At the monument’s base, Clio (the muse of history) is inscribing Williams’ name and 1636, the year of Providence’s founding.

Roger Williams Monument, ProvidenceThe Clio figure originally held a metal quill in her right hand, and the monument once featured a bronze shield, scroll and wreath near Clio’s feet (the missing elements can be seen in the 1905 black-and-white image from the Library of Congress).

The land for Roger Williams Park, and funding for the statue, were donated to the city by Williams’ great-great-great granddaughter Betsy. The park site was part of Williams’ land grant from the Narragansett tribe and the location of the family farm.

Roger Williams Monument, ProvidenceThe monument was sculpted by Franklin Simmons, whose other works include the U.S. Grant memorial at the U.S. Capitol. Another version of the statue, without the Clio figure, is displayed in the Capitol building.

Not far from the Williams monument, a bronze bust and bench honor Richard H. Deming, a former president of the Providence park commission. The bust was dedicated in 1904.

Roger Williams Monument, Providence






Roger Williams Monument, Providence






Roger Williams Memorial, 1905








Richard Deming Memorial, Providence






Richard Deming Memorial, Providence






Richard Deming Memorial, Providence








Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, Providence, R.I.

The 1871 Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument in Providence’s Kennedy Plaza is notable for its size and details, as well as the tribute it paid to Rhode Island’s African American Civil War veterans.

The monument, directly in front of City Hall, stands in the plaza between where Fulton and Washington streets meet Dorrance Street.

The monument features a female allegorical with a laurel wreath in an outstretched right arm. A dedication on the monument’s front (northeast) face reads, “”Rhode Island pays tribute to the memory of the brave men who died that their country might live.”

A dedication plaque on the monument’s west base, erected by the Rhode Island Black Heritage Society, honors the members of the 1st Rhode Island and the 14th Rhode Island Heavy Artillery (Colored) who fought in the Civil War.

The monument’s base includes four buttresses topped with bronze figures representing infantry, cavalry, artillery and naval veterans.

Large bronze plaques on the monument’s base list residents killed in the war. The names are arranged by rank within their regimental affiliation.

Bronze bas-relief plaques also depict allegorical representations of war, victory, peace and history (illustrated as a African-American woman holding broken shackles).

The monument was designed by sculptor Randolph Rogers, who also created the Samuel Colt monument in Hartford, the Columbus Doors in the U.S. Capitol rotunda, and architect Alfred Stone. The figures were sculpted in Rome and cast in Munich, and the monument was assembled in Providence.

The monument was dedicated in its present location in 1871, and was moved in 1913 when Kennedy Plaza (then named Exchange Place) was constructed. It was returned to its original location in 1997 as part of renovations to the plaza.