Bramwell is a town of 426 people (as of 2000) in the Bluefield micropolitan area of West Virginia. Incorporated in 1888, Bramwell became known as the “Home of Millionaires” because it contained more millionaires per capita around the turn of the 20th century (up to 13, mostly wealthy coal barons) than any other town in the US; today, their Victorian and Tudor style mansions can still be viewed. The town was named for New York civil engineer J. H. Bramwell, who became the town’s first postmaster and president of the Bank of Bramwell, and incorporated in 1888. Bramwell was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
Bramwell is also a stop on the Bluefield-Welch line of Bluefield Area Transit; buses pass by 5 times a day going in each direction.
- A tour of Bramwell’s many historic homes, 304-248-7114 or 304-248-7252 or 866-248-TOUR. the 1895 Goodwill House (with a ballroom), the 1902 Perry House (with Victorian furnishings, now a bed-and-breakfast), the Virginia Davis House, the 1909 Thomas House (with carved walls, a dumbwaiter and central vacuum-cleaning system), the 1909 Mann House and Bungalow (a three-story turreted mansion and house-sized “playhouse” for his children and governess), and the 1914 Hewitt House (the last coal-baron house built in Bramwell, with Tiffany fixtures and hardwood floors).
- The historic Bank of Bramwell building. Thanks to the nearby Pocahontas coalfields, the Bank of Bramwell was once the financial center of southern West Virginia and one of the wealthiest banks per capita in the United States, until its closure in 1933 during the Great Depression. The bank was so wealthy that money was transported by wheelbarrow in leather bags to the trains tation. Apparently, it even inspired a popular phrase in the 1920s: “solid as the Bank of Bramwell”.
- The 1904 Bramwell Presbyterian Church, WV-120 and Main Street, 304-248-8085.
- Highwall Park. US-52. Bluegrass music every second Saturday from May through October.
- 1 Pinnacle Rock State Park, ☎+1 304-248-8565. US-52 southeast of Bramwell. 400 acres of parkland, trout-stocked Jimmy Lewis Lake, 2-mile hiking trail, and a 3,100-foot sandstone formation with overlook.