Theodore Roosevelt

'Timeless' church reflects 300 years of changes

'Timeless' church reflects 300 years of changes

Sometime in the fall of 1712, a gang of Williamsburg brickmakers began firing tens of thousands of bricks for what would become one of colonial America's most indelible landmarks.

Completed three years later, Bruton Parish Church has long been celebrated as the shrine where a dozen royal governors prayed and Washington, Jefferson and Monroe knelt to ask for guidance.

Especially since its 1930s restoration — and dating back to its renewal for the 300th anniversary of Jamestown in 1907 — millions of pilgrims have visited the ancient church, drawn by its enduring connection to the nation's birth and Virginia's crucial role in the Revolution.

But after two wars and 297...