Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bramwell, West Virginia


I went on a week-long trip back to see family in Ohio the middle of October. Unwilling to drive Interstate 77 again (the phrase I used was "I'd rather poke my eyes out"), which I've driven on every trip back the past 26 years, this time it was up US-52 part of which is the Coal Heritage Scenic Byway and travels through the mountains of western West Virginia.

First stop off the byway was through the tiny village of Bramwell. It was founded in the late 1880's and at one time had more millionaires per capita than any other town or city in the United States - 19 in a town of 4,000. The Bramwell Pharmacy was the second store in the United States to sell Chanel No.5 in the 1920's and sold $300,000 (in 2012 dollars) every month.

Today the village is a mere shadow of that time period with less than 400 residents and no millionaires.


The church above is Bramwell Church of Holy Trinity (Episcopal) which was built in 1883 and closed during the 1950's. You can see interior photos here and a short history of the church. The interior is absolutely amazing as it was built by a shipbuilder and resembles the upside-down hull of a ship.


And a quick snapshot of one of the magnificent and nicely kept homes still standing in Bramwell known as the "Hewitt House" after its original builder, Colonel John Hewitt, and one of the last of the mansions built before Bramwell's decline.

I couldn't spend much time in Bramwell as I had to be in Ashland, Kentucky before dark and it was still nearly 200 miles away.

3 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

The interior of the church is very picturesque, I hope it won't disintegrate. The house is beautiful.

I hope that the hurricane didn't affect you in anyway?

frayedattheedge said...

I hope you are safe and well after the terrible storm - and that your family is ok too!

Karen said...

Toffeeapple: It was amazing to see all those huge mansions crowded around a couple of city blocks in the mountains of West Virginia, a state that is one of the poorest in the country.

Anne: We were only brushed by winds and rain. Nothing to compare to New York and New Jersey.