PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — For the first time in nearly 50 years, and only the second time in Rhode Island history, the Independent Man will be taken down by the end of the year.

Gov. Dan McKee announced last month that the statue and its base on top of the State House will undergo an “important, historic repair and preservation effort.”

If everything continues to go according to plan, McKee’s office said the statue will be brought down sometime before Thanksgiving. The state will keep Rhode Islanders updated on plans for the “big day.”

The decision was made after drone footage showed damage to the dome that the statue stands on. Because of the damage, the statue and the dome have started to separate, according to McKee.

Workers are building scaffolding to reach the statue and damaged marble, according to McKee’s office, and are also designing rigging to transport the pieces safely to the ground.

In the meantime, the Independent Man has been secured with cabling.

McKee’s office said it’s looking at options for displaying the statue so the public can enjoy it before it returns to the top of the State House.

The Independent Man was designed by artist George Brewster and cast by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence. It’s covered in gold leaf, stands 11 feet tall and weighs more than 500 pounds.

People are urged not to fly their drones or other devices near the Independent Man or State House dome while work is being done.

The Independent Man was last removed in 1975.

Below are images of the statue from the Rhode Island State Archives.

  • Independent Man statue being removed from RI State House in 1976
  • Gov. Joe Garrahy with Independent Man statue in 1976
  • Independent Man statue on display in 1976
  • Independent Man statue on display in 1976