The statue of Independent Man proudly stands atop a majestic clock tower.

Independent Man secured atop RI State House as damage uncovered. Will be removed, restored.

Photo: Pamela Bhatia, Artistic Images

Governor Dan McKee today announced that the Independent Man and the cupola atop the Rhode Island State House dome will undergo an important, historic repair and preservation effort which will include the Independent Man temporarily moving from atop the dome for the first time since 1975 and for only the second time in the state’s history. 

“The Independent Man is an iconic symbol of our state and a source of pride for all Rhode Islanders,” said Governor Dan McKee. “The statue has weathered decades of storms, blizzards and hurricanes, and it is important that we use this opportunity to invest in the People’s House and preserve the Independent Man for generations of Rhode Islanders and visitors to enjoy.” 

The decision to embark on this specific preservation and repair effort came this week after a team of state employees captured footage of the State House dome that showed the marble base supporting the Independent Man had begun to separate. The employees were documenting the State House cleaning and restoration project initiated by Governor McKee. The footage was captured before crews began cleaning work on the dome and the area surrounding the Independent Man.  

Video from state of RI

Longer analysis of the crack and splitting of the part of the dome the Independent Man is affixed to showed a straight, vertical crack and a wide opening of the dome. Throughout the day, workers using a crane, worked to shore up and secure the statue to its base and the base to the dome. Work was done immediately knowing that effects of Hurricane Lee would be pummeling the area this weekend. It is anticipated the initial work to secure the statue will be completed before the arrival of any potential adverse weather related to Hurricane Lee. The State will consult with experts in the field to determine next steps for repair.  

After the initial work to secure the statue is complete and the full plan for the restoration and preservation is finalized, the Independent Man will be temporarily removed from atop the State House dome. The Administration will be developing options to display the statute for the general public to enjoy before it is reunited to its base atop the State House. 

Who does this work?

In 1976 a Johnston-based company, the Paul King Foundry, did the restoration work. The company is now Buccacio Sculpture Services based in Canton, Massachusetts. “Buccacio Sculpture Services completes an existing vacancy in the art community in New England. Jeff is already well known as a successful sculptor and now he is sharing his vast knowledge of sculpture and casting with other artists. Their foundry will be the continuation of the work that was done at the Paul King Foundry.

In 1966 when the Paul King Foundry opened, I realized that I had become part of a long tradition at the Gorham Bronze Company. My father was a silver designer at Gorham and the first commercial foundry where I worked, was started by workers from Gorham. As the years progressed, the Paul King Foundry started making many of the old patterns of sculpture that were in the possession of Gorham. The Buccacios are the present day participants in that Gorham tradition.”

The Buccaccio group restored The General Burnside Monument in Burnside Park in Providence, and it is maintained by Buccacio Sculpture Services.

They say, “Our annual cleaning protects this sculpture from the degradations of acid rain and other environmental stresses. We are always mindful of the penetrating effects of corrosion and have developed specialized techniques to protect the bronze. Buccacio Sculpture Services restored this 20 foot tall monument including the granite and stone base utilizing scaffolding.”

RINewsToday reached out to the company, and Jeff Buccaccio responded. Our question was “Will you be doing the refurbishing of the RI State House Independent Man sculpture?” His response, “maybe!”.

State of RI

The Independent Man, designed by artist George Brewster and cast by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence, is covered in gold leaf and the statue is 11 feet tall weighing more than 500 pounds. 

For the safety of the work crews, the State is asking members of the press and residents not to fly drones or other devices near the Independent Man or State House dome while work is being done to secure the statue. 

Casting of the Independent Man’s head – at URI


While the restoration was being done in 1975/1976, and to help offset the costs of the restoration project, a new bronze cast of the statue’s head was created and used as a raffle prize, which was won by the Lavin Family of Narragansett. In 2000, the family donated their bronze cast to the University of Rhode Island. The donation was made in memory of John J. Lavin (1971-1978). This bronze head evokes a feeling of power as a piece of art that represents the same ideals of freedom and independence that Roger Williams and the original “The Independent Man” statue represented.and is on display at the present time at URI.

State of RI


  1. Bob Brown on December 6, 2023 at 4:13 pm

    Nice picture of the Hawk sitting on his foot.

  2. Kate on September 16, 2023 at 2:20 pm

    I remember my Aunt Pat taking me to the “Warwick Mall (at the time) to see the Statue in person! I was eight years old!!!!!
    I still remember my sense of awe at the size of that sculpture!
    Such a great memory!
    I hope that he might be displayed again where the people can enjoy this work of art and enjoy it more thoroughly- Perhaps in the Providence Mall…. That way it is protected from jerks who might damage him.
    The rest of us would love to see him (again!)