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.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

In the Garden Waiting on Lunch


This is the time of year that I bring out all the bird feeders and set them up in the small garden now that all the migrants have come down from the boreal forests in Canada. In fact, while I was eating breakfast I watched titmice, bluebirds, goldfinches, Northern cardinals and house finches gathering at the feeders.

Later that day while I was getting ready to leave the house, I glanced out the sliding glass door to see this:


A juvenile Cooper's hawk who must have seen the gathering of birds, squirrels and chipmunks and thought "Lunch buffet!"


But they all managed to get out of harm's way. The hawk hung out on the back garden fence for a couple of minutes and then left for the woods. At least he stayed long enough for me to get some pictures of this handsome guy.