It’s not often that you can visit Bramwell’s Victorian mansions, but the Christmas Tour of Homes is just the invitation you need. Step into the Gilded Age and see how coal barons “decked the halls” for real!
Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Bramwell may be tiny, but it once had more wealth per capita than anywhere else in America. Coal barons lived here by the dozen during the late 1800s. Some of their lavish ways survive today: enormous mansions, imported luxuries, and original streetlamps.
All that splendor is yours to admire during Bramwell’s celebrated Christmas Tour of Homes on Dec. 9. A select number of privately owned mansions will showcase period furniture, antiques, and lots of holiday cheer. You’ll feel like a character from Charles Dickens’ novels! Every featured home will be decorated for Christmas, too.
Here’s what will be on the tour*:
1. Jairus Collins House
Named after a prominent coal baron, this Vernacular-style mansion features original Tiffany stained-glass windows. The 19-room dwelling also has a sun room and lovely crystal chandelier. Servants slept in the 2-story garage, which has a matching slate roof with diamond-shaped tiles.
2. I.T. Mann House
This 3-story mansion is like something from “Clue.” A turret, glass conservatory, leather walls, and a fascinating children’s area— complete with miniature doors and closets— are just some of the standout features. It also has a distinctive patio; the curvy contours mimic the nearby Bluestone River.
3. Hewitt House
Completed in 1914, this home was the last of Bramwell’s historic mansions. Interestingly, it was built by Katherine Hewitt, the wife of Bramwell’s first mayor. She chose local bluestone and Indiana white oak panelling for construction materials. Noteworthy details include a gabled pavilion, imported English tile floors, and a skylight over the main staircase.
The Hewitt House also has a 2-story garage, which sports a state-of-the-art Edwardian car wash.
4. Pack House
This 3-story mansion dates to 1879 and was once owned by J.C. Pack, a coal superintendent. It has a broad, distinctive porch and overlooks the Bluestone River. Imagine waking up to that scene every day! Inside, oak columns divide the foyer from the living room— an unexpected detail. You’ll also see exquisite period furniture.
5. Episcopal Church Rectory
This 1898 building has never been open for the Christmas Tour of Homes— until now. For the first time in 34 years, the newly renovated Episcopal Church Rectory is yours to explore. It’s surprisingly large; the 3-story structure actually dwarfs the church! In the past, visitors would stay for several months. This rectory probably witnessed lots of town business and administration, too.
What gems await inside? Well, you’ll have to visit!
6. Meyers House
This 1892 home was once owned by Vernie Meyers, wife of industrialist I.T. Mann. Period furniture, paintings, and decor spread across 16 rooms, many of which evoke Victorian sentiment.
7. Parsons House
The Norfolk and Railway built this mansion in 1904. Perched on a bluff, it boasts incredible views of the town and depot. Now known as the Bramwell Hill Manor, the house is a popular ATV resort. Highlights include a carved wooden mantelpiece, columned patio, and period light fixtures.
As if that’s not enough, the Christmas Tour of Homes will have live music and free refreshments, too. Festive and heartwarming, this enchanting event never fails to lift your spirits.
To get your tickets, visit the Bramwell Presbyterian Church at 4 p.m. on Dec. 9. Each pass is $15. Please purchase tickets by 5:30 p.m. Houses close at 8 p.m.
* Please note: homes are subject to change for the tour.
Have you ever gone on the Christmas Tour of Homes? If so, which mansion is your favorite?
This post was last updated on December 4, 2017