VISIT SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

Bramwell and Bluefield – History and The Arts

This journey will take you from an old railroad city to a small town rich with coal baron history. Bluefield, WV is a growing art community with unique galleries taking up more and more of the city blocks. Bramwell, WV is known for once being home to more millionaires per capita then anywhere in the United States. The millionaires of Bramwell were coal barons and we invite you to come, pick up a walking tour brochure (at the depot) and spend the day viewing the well-maintained historic buildings. Twice a year in June and Dec these buildings are opened for a guided Tour of Homes. To learn about coal and how these ‘barons’ earned their riches a stop at the Pocahontas Coal Mine is in order.

Stop 1- Bluefield

Bluefield was once referred to as “Little New York” when coal tonnage was good and the market for coal was booming. Rich in coal and railroad history today Bluefield is the Gateway City into the state of WV and known as West Virginia’s Air Conditioned City.

Stop2 – Bramwell

The coal boom brought coal barons who incorporated Bramwell in 1888. Known as the “Millionaires’ Town” because more millionaires per capita lived there than anywhere else in the nation. Today you can take a walking tour of this historic town and view the mansions of the coal barons who once commanded the region. There are 19 historic buildings on the suggested walking tour.

Tips for Your Bramwell Visit

  • The road to Bramwell is hilly and curvy
  • Best time to visit town- Wed-Sat
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Limited cell service
  • Free Wifi at the Depot

Events Oktoberfest- 2nd Saturday in October $15 guided home tours- 1st Saturday in June, 2nd Saturday in December

Stop 3 – Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine

National Historic Landmark. Mine was opened in 1882 and operated for 73 years. Now an exhibition mine, you can take a one hour walking tour through the mine that includes interpretive talks and a video.

Hours & Cost

  • Hours (2011)
  • April 2- May 28 -Saturday 10-5, Sunday 1-5
  • May 28- Sept 30 –Wednesday-Saturday 10-5, Sunday 1-5
  • Adults- $8.50, children (6-12) $5.50, under 6 free
  • AAA discount available

Tips for Your Visit to Pocahontas Exhibition Coal Mine

  • Brings a jacket- it is always about 50⁰F and damp in the mine
  • Comfortable walking shoes- the tour is a walk through the mine on fairly level gravel
  • Ask questions- your tour guide is a retired miner who will be more than happy to share his personal experiences in coal mining
  • Limited cell service- if you are desperate, try just outside the exit to the mine

Points of Interest

Pocahontas Cemetery- old cemetery on the hill by road to Bramwell- burial site of the miners who died in the 1884 explosion in Pocahontas Mine

Stop 4 – Pinnacle Rock State Park

384 acre day-use facility park. Opened in 1938 this park features a sandstone formation reaching 3,100 feet above sea level. Overlook area, hiking and biking trails, picnic shelter with stone fireplace, playground, and access to Jimmy Lewis Lake.

Hours & Cost

  • Day Use Park
  • Cost: Free

Tips for Your Visit to Pinnacle Rock State Park

  • Take the path up the overlook
  • Also take the trail behind the playground- it will bring you to the base of Pinnacle Rock
  • Limited cell service- parking lot and outlook best locations

Other Notes

  • To explore more of the local coal heritage, take a drive into neighboring McDowell County, home of the Rocket Boys.
  • To explore more of the local railroad, take a drive to Princeton
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