Bramwell’s Spring Tour of Homes reveals Victorian elegance in a small coal town
Every spring, the doors of lavish Victorian mansions open, revealing grand staircases, dainty fixtures, elaborate dining rooms and a rich history of money, good fortune and more. Bramwell’s main street – still part brick – is a collection of businesses and restaurants, along with mansions.
The town of Bramwell, the home of the millionaires, is the story of wealthy coal bosses who built their homes in a tiny town, adjacent to the rich coalfields of Pocahontas, Va. (Did you know the Pocahontas Coal Mine helped fuel warships during the World Wars?)
Sharing a state line, these towns lived and breathed coal during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
No other town in the Mountain State can make such claims as Bramwell. At one time, more than 14 millionaires lived in the town. In 1984, the town was placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U. S. Department of the Interior. Many of the homes are early 20th century in design.
The Spring Tour of Homes is schedule for Saturday, June 10. Tour guide Betty Goins, a native of Bramwell, said the tour will bring to life the Victorian era. Guides, dressed in Victorian fashions, will be inside each home on the tour. The self-walking tour begins at 2 p.m., but visitors are encouraged to come at 1 p.m. to buy tickets at the Bramwell Presbyterian Church. Tickets are $15.
Guests can eat lunch at the two restaurants in town – The Bramwell Main Street Eatery and The Bramwell Soda Fountain and Corner Shop. They can also visit the train depot museum at the Coal Heritage Trail Interpretive Center to learn more about the Home of the Millionaires.
Four homes will be on the tour for 2017:
The Hewitt House – Built in 1914, the Hewitt Home was the last home built during the coal-baron era. Katherine Hewitt built the house, which has beautiful woodwork, a greenhouse and an elaborate dining room.
The Pack House – This home was built for the superintendent of the Buckeye Coal and Coke Company in 1897. An iron fence that lines the property surrounds the white and black house.
The Thomas House – This mansion was built in three years, between 1909-1912, and sits on a hill overlooking the town of Bramwell. It cost $95,000 to build at that time.
The Mann House – Built in 1890 by the richest man in Bramwell, Isaac T. Mann lived in his house for 20 years with his wife and two children. He also built his children a playhouse across the way. The play house is as big as many of today’s modern homes!
Please note the homes that are open are subject to change.
The Bramwell Spring Tour of Home is not handicap accessible. The brick street on Main Street is flat and the tour is an easy walk, with exception to the Thomas House, which sits on a hill. For more information, please call Visit Mercer County at 304-325-8438 or 800-221-3206.