HISTORIC BRAMWELL , WEST
Town of Bramwell History Summary
Settled in the 1800s, the town of Bramwell, West Virginia is located eight miles north of Bluefield,West Virginia, adjacent to Route 52. Bramwell is seated 2300 feet above sea level in Mercer County, West Virginia. The Bluestone River surrounds the town in a horseshoe bend fashion and it was first known as Horse Shoe Bend in the early 1800s. The Town's namesake, J.H. Bramwell who arrived in Bramwell in 1883 was a New York civil engineer. As first postmaster of a post office that needed a legal label, he said, "Every little baby has a name, and this little town must have the same. I therefore name it Bramwell." Joseph H. became first president of the famed Bank of Bramwell, and a big-time real estate investor. After getting rich on real estate sales in Bramwell he left the town for Switzerland where he died in the 1890s.
By 1885, J. H. Duhring, a coal company engineer, finished mapping lots for homes and businesses in Bramwell that were located the Bluestone River's horseshoe bend. J. H. Duhring is credited with designing the two major brick streets to form a cross in the town. The community of Duhring near Bramwell is also named after Mr. Duhring. The town of Bramwell was incorporated in 1888 under a special charter granted by the Circuit Court of Mercer County with John D. Hewitt, Senior named as the first mayor. Before 1900, the town had electric street lights, a water company, telephone service and a weekly newspaper.
In 1873 the extensive West Virginia coal fields started in Bramwell and extended over forty miles. Bramwell's wealth was supported by the Pocahontas coalfields, which employed 100,000 miners. At one time, the Norfolk & Western railroad had 14 trains a day stopping in Bramwell. The Historic Bank of Bramwell was the financial center of southern West Virginia. It was thought to be the wealthiest bank per capita in the country. The bank's janitor regularly transported leather bags filled with money by wheelbarrow down the brick paved streets to the nearby train depot. The depression of 1933 brought an end to the Bramwell Bank.
Bramwell is best known for having the largest number of millionaires per capita of any town in America in the late 1800s. Bramwell once had as many as thirteen millionaires living there at one time in the early 20th century. The magnificent homes that remain there today testify to this wealth .
A detailed history of this historic town can be found in a book authored by Martha Jane (Williams) Becker in 1988. This book "Bramwell -The Diary of a Millionaire Coal Town" is based on material written and published from time to time by Dwight W. McCormick . The book draws from research by Mr. McCormick and his Bramwell High School Student American Government Classes for over thirty years. This excellent research material accurately depicts the "first one hundred years" history of Bramwell, West Virginia. Here is a little known fact - Bramwell was at one time the only town of it's size in the U.S. to have three post offices within the town limits (Bramwell, Freeman, Cooper). The Office of the Postmasters' General in Washington D. C. records show that the first postmaster in Bramwell was Joseph H. Bramwell and he started this job when the Bramwell Post Office opened on August 14, 1883. When the famed Bank of Bramwell was incorporated in 1889 Joseph H. Bramwell was then installed as the bank's first president on May 1, 1889. Bramwell's namesake, Joseph H. Bramwell accompanied Captain I. A. Welch on his 1873 survey of the Pocahontas Coalfields. Bramwell later worked as general manager of the Crozier Coal and Coke Company. Official Post Office records record that Joseph H. Bramwell was the first postmaster in Bramwell, serving from August 14, 1883 until May 1886.
HISTORIC BRAMWELL - 1909 VIEW
MEET THE BUILDERS OF BRAMWELL
HISTORIC BRAMWELL PIONEER FAMILIES
AERIAL VIEW OF HISTORIC BRAMWELL ~ 1915
BRAMWELL - YEAR -1888
BRAMWELL - YEAR 1909 and 1919
BRAMWELL - YEAR -1988
BRAMWELL HISTORIC HOUSES
HISTORIC BRAMWELL DEPOT RECONSTRUCTION
LAST TRAIN TO BRAMWELL
HISTORIC BRAMWELL SWINGING BRIDGE RESTORATION
HISTORIC BRAMWELL BANK
COLONIAL FREEMAN, WV
HISTORIC BRAMWELL'S BLOCH STREET
HISTORIC BLUESTONE INN
TOWN OF BRAMWELL INDEX
RETURN TO TOWN OF BRAMWELL