Historic St. John's Church Needs Major Repairs - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

Historic St. John's Church Needs Major Repairs

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - One of Richmond's historic gems is losing its luster and needs hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs: St. John's Church needs a major overhaul.

St. John's Church is Richmond's first church, and some consider it the birth place of our nation. But preserving all of its history costs money. Right now, the house of worship needs some significant repairs.

Although the church has aged gracefully over the past 273 years, time is still taking its toll on the building. 

"It really takes a beating. It is the highest site in Richmond, so you get a lot more weather than smaller buildings do," explained Amy Schwartz of St. John's Church Foundation.

This national historic landmark needs over $300,000 in repairs.

"We're going to be focusing on repairing and replacing the roof. We'll be repairing and replacing the shutters that are historic and doing some painting on the exterior as well," said Schwartz.

The biggest project is replacing the roof. The current tile roof is leaking, plus it's so heavy, they've had to install tie bars to help hold it up and keep the church structurally sound. 

There are also hopes to fix the shutters. Right now, they're not functional.

"And we also need to remake the hardware. So we would like to repair these they're called shutterdogs and they actually keep them open when we want them open."

The St. John's Church Foundation is trying to raise $324,000 to pay for the work.

The Foundation is just as responsible for preserving the building as it is for preserving the history of what happened here: Patrick Henry famously declared, "Give me liberty or give me death" at the church in 1775.

"Between Patrick Henry, Edgar Allen Poe's mother who is buried here, all of the really interesting gravestones and these wonderful interpreters who give fantastic tours, it's the place to be in Richmond," said Schwartz.

The Foundation has already raided about a third of the money necessary to get the work done. If it can collect an additional $100,000, another local foundation has offered to donate the rest.

For more information on St. John's Church and to find out how you can help, please click here

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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