Spotlight on BramwellDecember 8, 2011
With the town folk of Bramwell opening up their exquisite historic homes for a Holiday Tour this Saturday (December 10, 2011), a closer look at this former coal community seems in order.
Founded in 1888 and officially a historic town since 1983, Bramwell, WV still exhibits a lot of the flair that millionaire coal barons brought to it over a century ago. In the early 1900’s, Bramwell was home to 14 millionaires. In fact, in the late 1800’s, Bramwell had the largest number of millionaires per capita of any town in the United States. Their historic homes are open for tours at certain times of year, specifically spring and Christmas.
Coal is a dominant industry in WV, and how much it influenced the WV economy through the years is evident in Bramwell.
Bramwell is in Mercer County, right on the Bluestone River, approximately 8 miles north of Bluefield. It is on the edge of 40 miles of the Pocahontas Coal reserves, which was some of the best and most productive coal in the state. The Bluestone River actually makes a huge horseshoe shaped bend around town. In fact, Horse Shoe Bend was the first name of this community.
The town’s namesake is J.H. Bramwell, a civil engineer from New York. He was Bramwell’s first postmaster and first bank president. He saw opportunity in the coalfields and became a very successful real estate developer.
And so Bramwell developed from the growth of the coal industry. Today Bramwell has fewer than 500 residents; in the early 1900’s, the town and surrounding areas had over 100,000 residents.
Bramwell is well-known for the Victorian style homes that were built by its affluent residents. These homes were state of the art for their time and historically revered today.
Today, Bramwell still embraces its historical past, hosting events to showcase the town’s history and beauty. The Millionaire Garden Club is responsible for many of these events.
In addition to the Christmas Home Tour, Bramwell hosts an Oktoberfest event. It’s been a popular festival for over 15 years; brewers and beer enthusiasts from all over the East Coast descend upon Bramwell for the event. Bramwell homeowners also open their homes for tours in the spring every year.
Bramwell has also seen an increase in visitation as the Hatfield and McCoy ATV Trail System has a trailhead 2 miles outside of town.
Have you visited Bramwell?