Bramwell's Icon Resident
Elizabeth L. Betty Goins
The above is the book on Historic Bramwell History by: Elizabeth L. "Betty" Goins
Bramwell’s well-preserved historic houses remain beautiful with with the original ornate woodwork, leaded and stained-glass windows, slate, copper and tile roofs, indoor swimming pools, ballrooms, fancy parlors, wide porches, turrets and gables, guest houses, dumbwaiters and even central vacuum-cleaning systems.
The romantic tudor revial Thomas House, built by coal operator W.H. Thomas between 1909 and 1912 reportedly had timber and tiles sent specficially from England for construction.
The Hewitt House built in 1914 and was until recently operated operated as The Rivers Bend bed and breakfast. This house was built by Col. John Hewitt's wife, Col. Hewitt was a coal baron and Bramwell's first mayor. He died in 1904. The house style is Victorian and it features chestnut wood paneling, tiffany lights and steuben shades. It is located on the corner of Brick Street and South River Street. The Hewitt house emphasized native bluestone and Indian Oak interior paneling. It was also the home of the well known Dr. J. C. Newbolt for many years until his death in 1976.
The Pack House is located on Brick Street accross the street from the Hewitt House (now a B&B). The Pack house was built by the Hewitt family for the coal company superintendent, J.C. Pack. The Perry House is located on Bramwell's Brick Street. This home is also a bed and breakfast.
The unique winding staircase in the Perry House was used as a kindergarten school for the coal baron’s children. The Cooper House is located on Bramwell's Main street and features a solid copper roof. It is truly one of Bramwell's most attractive historic houses.
The Historic Bank of Bramwell is located beside the Perry House on the corner of Brick Street and Block Street, accross the street from the famous Bramwell Drug Store. It has reported to have been the richest bank for its size in all of America around the turn of the 20th century.
The Mann House is located on South River Street beside the Hewitt mansion. This historic Bramwell house features unique leather-like fabric on the walls of the study. It also features a beautiful formal living and dining room, and has a conservatory. Across the river by footbridge from his house , Mann built this house-size "playhouse" for his children and their governess. The house today is a private residence.
The Jairus Collins Home is located on South River Street and is sometimes referred to as The Painted Lady. It is now a bed and breakfast. This historic house home features a large crystal chandelier in the dining room and has beautiful stained-glass windows on both the first and second floors.
On Bramwell's Main Street one can visit Bramwell's business area: The Corner Shop, The Blue Moon Gift Shop, Sadie’s Café, A Touch of Glass Victorian Gift Shop and The Ugly Duckling Antique Store . Refreshments are available in the Hospitality Room, located at the train depot at the North end of Main Street. The rebuilt Train Depot houses the Coal Heritage Interpretive Center and Museum. It features pictures and artifacts of the coal area.
Across the Phoebe Goodwill Memoril Bridge, toward Coopers is the historic Goodwill House that features a large ballroom on the third floor and this mansion has elevator. Sitting close to the Goodwill House is the Thomas House. This beautiful English Tudor reflects typical architecture found in the Bramwell's historical homes. This house sits on a knoll overlooking the town of Bramwell. In the same area one will find Senator Baker's house and the Martin House.
Many more historic houses can also be seen on one's tour of Historic Bramwell : Dr. H. V. McNeer's, the Freeman House, Dr. Homer Luttrell's House.
The architecture of Bramwell truly reflects the large fortunes which the Pocahontas coal operators were able to accumulate. The styles within the district range from Queen Anne to American homestead to craftsmanstyle. The romantic Tudor Revival house built by coal operator W.H. Thomas between 1909 and 1912 reportedly had timber and tiles sent specially from England for its construction. In contrast, the Hewitt house built only two years later emphasizes native local bluestone and Indiana white oak interior paneling. The Edward Cooper house (1910), which also had its orange brick shipped from England, is of the Queen Anne style with its Ionic articulated tower and decorative copper roof, while next door :he Coopers built an American craftsmanstyle brick bungalow (ca.1920) for their son and his new wife. It seems that the wealthy operators spared nothing to construct these buildings with the finest materials and craftsmanship available. Several structures exhibit hlaborate carvings inside, most notably expressed on staircases. Stained and beveled glass is found in several of the homes. Decorative wrought iron fences border the majority of lots: in Bramwell.
According to some local Bramwell sources Dr. Hedley V. McNeer's house may be the oldest home in Bramwell. Dr. McNeer bought it from the Bluestone Land Corp in 1889 for $1400.00, when lots were only selling for $300.00. The Dr. R. M. McGuffin house (claimed by some people to be the oldest house in Bramwell) was not built in 1885 as previously reported. The center lot was not accuired until November 1887 for $300.00. It is doubtful that the home was completed until 1890. The written source is the Mercer County court records. Thus, these recently noted court records show that the Historic DR. R.M. McGuffin House may have been incorrectly reported to be the oldest frame house in Bramwell. Some writings have reported it to be the oldest house on Bramwell's "Main Street". Dr. Hedley V. Mcneer's house boasted the first indoor plumbing in town and had a free standing shower. It even had a windmill to help supply water, and there was a speaking tube from the front door to Dr. McNeer's bedroom.
A newspaper Article: April 17, 1908 - Dr. R. M. McGuffin , a prominent physician of Bramwell, and the coal fields, was seriously injured last Sunday by Dudley WILLIAMS, at Glen Alum, in West Virginia. WILLIAMS struck Dr. McGUFFIN on the head with a pistol, inflicting a wound which was thought to be fatal. He is now in Welch hospital. The trouble is said to have occurred on account of a letter written to some young ladies of Mr. Williams household. Williams was fined and released by the magistrate.
Note: During the late 1800s Dr. R. M. McGuffin was a surgeon for the N&W Railroad Co. He was born in 1847 and died in 1910.
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