Federal Building and Courthouse - Providence

white granite building with trees on either side and an american flag waving in front

1 Exchange Terrace
Providence, RI 02903
View Map [nongovernment site]

The Federal Building and Courthouse, located at the east end of Kennedy Plaza (formerly known as Exchange Place), in downtown Providence, is a notable example of the Beaux Arts style. Completed in 1908, at a cost of $1.3 million, the Providence Post Office, Courthouse, and Custom House was hailed as one of the finest federal buildings outside Washington. The building was turned over to the GSA in January 1961, following completion of the nation's first automated post office. At that time, the building was devoted primarily to judicial functions, and was renamed the Providence Federal Building and Courthouse.

Property Manager: David Colarusso
Public Hours:
Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. (except federal holidays)
Public Access:
Security screening required
Key Tenants: U.S. District Court, U.S. Trustee Program, Senator Jack Reed's office

Parking and Public Transportation

Directly across from Kennedy Plaza (main bus hub for the Rhode Island Public Transport (RIPTA). Less than a five minute walk from Providence Station (Amtrak, MBTA). Parking available at the Rhode Island Convention Center parking garage.

History and Architectural Features

In 1900, the rapidly growing city of Providence began pressing Rhode Island's congressional delegation and officials in Washington about the need for a new federal building. In 1902, Congress was ultimately persuaded and two years later construction on the federal building began. Completed in 1908, it is a five-story, rectangular structure, faced in New Hampshire granite over a steel frame, with a rusticated base. The building is almost perfectly on axis with the Second Empire style City Hall (1873-1874) at the opposite end of the plaza, and was designed to complement it in style and massing. Extensive renovation and restoration activities have been undertaken, most notably in the late 1970s and again in 1999-2001, but the exterior of the building is virtually unchanged, and the lobby and two major courtrooms have been restored.

Art and Architecture

The GSA Art in Architecture Program commissions the nation’s leading artists to create large-scale works of art for new federal buildings.

Landmark Status

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Last Reviewed: 2021-01-11