A Historic Homecoming: Independent Man Statue Returns for Rhode Island Independence Day

Rhode Island’s iconic Independent Man statue is making a grand comeback just in time for the state’s Independence Day celebrations, following a meticulous refurbishment process. Governor Dan McKee expressed his excitement, ensuring Rhode Islanders another chance to admire the historical figure up close before its eventual return to its perch atop the State House later this year.

“As promised, I want to make sure that Rhode Islanders have another chance to see the Independent Man up close and experience an exciting part of Rhode Island history before the statue returns to its perch later this year,” said Governor Dan McKee. “He has his shine back, and I have to say, he is looking sharp.”

The 14-foot statue, now adorned with a fresh layer of gold leaf, will be unveiled to the public on Saturday, May 4, during a special State House open house event organized by Secretary of State Gregg M. Amore and the State House Restoration Committee. The viewing hours will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with subsequent opportunities to see the statue during the State House’s regular weekday hours throughout the summer.

The refurbishment project became imperative last fall when drone footage revealed structural issues with the marble base supporting the statue. To ensure the statue’s preservation, it was temporarily removed from its prominent position atop the State House and entrusted to expert conservators for restoration.

Originally adorned with gold leaf in 1899, the statue’s surface had significantly deteriorated by the 1970s. At that time, a refurbishment effort replaced the gold leaf with a more weather-resistant gold electroplate. This year’s restoration effort involved minor repairs to the electroplating and the addition of a new layer of gold leaf, reinstating the statue’s original appearance while providing enhanced protection against the elements.

The statue, temporarily reinstalled in the State House foyer, will be on display starting this Thursday, with plans to return it to its rightful place atop the State House once a replacement marble base, crafted from Georgian marble sourced from the original quarry, is completed later this fall.

The timing of the Independent Man’s return is particularly poignant, coinciding with Rhode Island’s Independence Day on May 4th, marking the state’s historic renunciation of allegiance to England in 1776—making it the first colony to do so, a full two months before the Declaration of Independence was signed by delegates to the Continental Congress.




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!