Forgotten vault at State House opened

Photo: Todd Wallace | WPRI 12

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A mysterious vault in the State House was opened Friday morning only to reveal a cinder block wall.

Workers were updating an old office at the State House two weeks ago and found a locked door bearing the inscription “State Returning Board” after removing some old wood paneling.

Nobody knew the combination or what could be inside, so a locksmith was called in to open the door.

A locksmith works on the door of a vault that was recently discovered at the Rhode Island State House. (Todd Wallace/WPRI)

Legislative Services Director Frank Montanaro said that the vault appears to be similar to another one on the first floor that was used to store ammunition in years past. The State Returning Board was an office established in 1901 that certified ballots in elections.

Before the vault was opened, Montanaro said he’d be surprised if there were any interesting secrets left inside, and thinks the vault was probably emptied before it was forgotten. Turns out, he was correct.

The State House was built in 1895.