Architects Joseph Brown and Stephen Hopkins designed this three story structure for the City of Providence. In 1771, a lottery helped raise $4500.00 in funds needed to start construction. In 1773, the corner stone was laid and by 1774 the second floor had been erected. Constructed of brick with a stone foundation, 40' (3 bays) by 80' (7 bays), gabled roof with balustrade. An arcaded ground floor was orginally open at one end. A third floor was added in 1797. The roof was originally wood trussed.
The long windows on the ground floor were built originally for stalls for farmers’ wagons. In 1799, the building housed a fire engine. In 1865, the building was used as City Hall, and in 1880, the Chamber of Commerce. In 1916, the paint on the bricks were removed.
In 1939-1940 the building went through a restoration process by the Works Progress Administration where the collapsed wood trusses had to be replaced by steel girders. The wood shingled roof was replaced with slate, as well. The building was converted to academic use in 1950 for the Rhode Island School of Design; John Hutchins Cady, architect.
On one side of the building is a plaque that reads: Near this Spot The Men and Women of Providence Showed their resistance to Unjust Taxation by Burning British Taxed Tea in the night of March 2nd, 1775. The Boston Tea Party occured on December 16, 1773.
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