Though the area around it has changed over the years, Providence City Hall remains a constant in downtown Providence. Constructed in the 1870s, the cast iron and masonry structure witnessed the evolution of modern downtown. Initially Providence’s government was located in the Market House, across the river. Needing more space, aldermen were split on where to put a new city hall. After a 30-year struggle over where to put the new building, the cornerstone was laid on the west side of the river in 1875. In the 1950s, the city considered demolishing City Hall, but it was saved, reflecting Providence’s pride in its historical roots.