Project Red Coat

British Red Coats pause to examine a new enemy: the coat of red paint on the Church’s brick foundation.

British Red Coats pause to examine a new enemy: the coat of red paint on the Church’s brick foundation.

Project Red Coat gets its name from the coat of red paint on the brick foundation located at the back of Historic St. John’s Church. A play on words, Project Red Coat promotes the revolutionary history of Historic St. John’s Church which includes the British military action of Benedict Arnold’s raid on Richmond in 1781. An American turncoat, Arnold camped his troops inside and around Historic St. John’s Church before he burned Richmond to the ground on January 6, 1781.

A 2017 investigation of the rear brick walls of the church found deterioration. The red paint on the brick, presumably applied to give a uniform look to the foundation, had instead trapped water inside, causing the brick to deteriorate over time. The damage to the foundation must now be repaired, and the paint must be removed and replaced.

It is critical to remove the paint to prevent further and irreparable deterioration.

Project Red Coat is expected to cost $185,000 to complete the following:

  • Remove the red paint from the brick foundation

  • Repair and repoint the brick foundation

  • Repair two rotating brick piers which are undermining the brick foundation

  • Repair a rotten wooden sill under the original 1741 section of the church

  • Repair brick retaining walls in the basement

  • Engage archaeologists to monitor for ground disturbances and potential graves


We are on our way to raising the $185,000 needed to complete this project. We have received a $50,000 grant from The Cabell Foundation which requires a 1 to 1 match. Thanks to a $25,000 grant from The Roller-Bottimore Foundation we are half-way toward our matching goal.

A donation to Project Red Coat will help us make the structural repairs needed to keep St. John’s Church standing tall for generations to come. We need to raise $25,000 by June 30, 2020 to receive the $50,000 matching grant from The Cabell Foundation.

The clock is ticking. Will you join us?

Donations can be sent to:

St. John’s Church Foundation

2319 E. Broad Street

Richmond, VA 23223

Designate your gift “Project Red Coat”

Help us get the last “Red Coat” out of Richmond!