HISTORIC BRAMWELL BANK ...
West Virginia -
Named to National Register of Historic Places - 1983.
The Bank of Bramwell was formed in 1889 by James Mann and his cousin, I.T. Mann established as its cashier. Mann, at one time, controlled all of the lands of the Flat Top Coal Land Association, which he in turn sold to the N&W Railroad at a handsome profit. 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, Henry Wade regularly transported leather bags filled with money by wheelbarrow down the brick paved streets to the nearby train depot.
Martha Jane Williams Becker's book" Bramwell - The
Diary of a Millianaire Coal Town"... The Bank of
Bramwell was formed in 1888 by James E. Mann, after
consulting with J. H. Bramwell, Major Duhring, Captain
Welch and others. The Bank was incorporated on February
25, 1889 and began business on May 1, 1889 with J. H.
Bramwell as president and Issac T. Mann as cashier. J.H. Bramwell
lent his name to this historic town that was founded in 1888.
The bank’s last president, Issac T. Mann, lived in the apartment
above the bank for a time after it closed.
NEWS: Published in Bluefield Daily Telegraph: March 15, 2007 - 10:13 PM : Historic Bramwell Bank Reopens.A landmark investment:
Storied Bank of Bramwell building gets new life.
BRAMWELL Thursday marked the start of a new chapter in the history of one of southern West Virginias most storied towns with the opening of the Bank of Bramwell, a branch of Honaker, Va., based New Peoples Bank.
I cant explain how I feel, Becky Allen, a lifelong Bramwell resident said. I remember coming into this building as a child, but I dont remember seeing the detail of the tiles in the floor or the carved columns around the door. Its like seeing it for the first time.
The bank opening drew a crowd to downtown Bramwell as people came in to get a look at the historic bank that was built in 1889, and served the community until 1933. After the bank closed, the building served as the main office for the Newbold Theater chain, a company that managed several coalfield theaters. The old bank building last served as headquarters for the Bramwell Aristocrat, a monthly newspaper published by the late Bob Barnett.
This is furniture-quality woodwork, Dorwin Byrd, project manager of New Peoples Bank said. The trim around the door posts and windows of the big office has hand-carved features and each one is different, he said during a tour of the bank. Byrd joined the New Peoples staff last spring after working as a banker in Mercer County for several years. He has been working out of the Abingdon, Va., office since April.
We have had a lot of interest in the bank from the community, but a lot of people from outside Bramwell have also called to ask for information about opening new accounts, Byrd said. I had somebody tell me that the old bank used to let you open an account with a penny. On Thursday, bank tellers were giving presents to new customers.
Byrd is a native of Bramwell and a 1961 graduate of Bramwell High School. After serving as project manager for a period of time, he hopes to get settled into the banks big office. For now, Lisa Palmer, a Northfork native with 11 years experience in banking, is serving as assistant manager and working from an office that looks out on the picturesque town that is still known for the millionaire coal barons who once called Bramwell home.
This is a soft opening, Palmer said. We plan to have a ribbon cutting ceremony later. She said that the Bramwell bank is the 26th bank in the New Peoples family of banks. There are quite a few more banks in the works.
Betty Goins, who has taken thousands of visitors on tours of Bramwell through the years was ecstatic about the bank opening. Donnie (Goins, her husband) made them some candy in honor of the opening, and Im over here delivering it, she said. This is the most exciting thing thats happened here in Bramwell in years.
Goins explained the historical context of the bank and the community. The banks first president, J.H. Bramwell, lent his name to the town that was founded in 1888. The banks last president, I.T. Mann, lived in the apartment above the bank for a time after it closed. Mann was the namesake of the Wyoming County town, Itmann.
Goins suggested that the bank place an old style wheel barrow outside in memory of Henry Wade, the banks janitor who was said to have pushed wheel barrows full of money up main street to the Bramwell depot. She also shared insights with bank personnel as to how historical artifacts could be used to conceal the computer terminals and electronic equipment associated with a modern bank
Palmer said that bank has selected that bank employees were busy working with company IT personnel to get acquainted with the new computers. She also noted that the bank selected antique-style furnishings to match with the interior. We have new desks on the way, she said. Were even using the old vault with a few modifications.
You just dont see buildings like this anymore, Byrd said
The bank has five employees and offers a full line of services. Several customers came into the bank, conducted their business and lingered for a while.
I really think this is a great day for Bramwell, Goins said.