Our county has four distinct historic towns:
Bramwell, the millionaires town, with a mansion-lined street where the barons of the coal boom lived. It was once home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere in the nation. Take a walking tour of the mansions, or stop by the rail depot museum to delve deep into the town’s lavish past.
Bluefield, which was one of the first cities in the nation to have a noticeable skyline when it boomed as “Little New York, is the place to go for a sweet cup of lemonade. In the late 30s, the city began serving lemonade to citizens when the temperature reached 90 degrees. The tradition continues every summer. The financial hub for the coal industry, the rail yard that runs along Princeton Avenue is popular with train enthusiasts and professional photographers.
Princeton, which became a key stop along the innovative Virginia Railway, “The Richest Little Railroad in the World,” also has unique Civil War tales. The rail, agricultural and war history are all chronicled in the local museums, and you can visit the last Civil War structure left in town. An emerging art scene in downtown Princeton is woven into Princeton’s historic past by the murals on Mercer Street.
Athens was settled before West Virginia was even a state, and still has much of its longstanding architecture. Concord University was established in 1872, and is still a central part of the town. Once farmland, Route 20 in a beautiful drive for those looking to catch a breath of fresh air. Athens is the last stop before Pipestem Resort State Park and the Pipestem Drive-Inn.
Today, all four are part of our Certified Arts Community, and draw from our heritage to create a unique creative character.