Definitely not a coal camp, Bramwell is an independent town in western Mercer County that was also home to more than a dozen millionaire coal barons in the early 20th Century. It seems that these coal operators knew just what they were doing when they decided to build their homes in Bramwell - not only is it on a nice, flat spot along the Bluestone River, it's also just beyond the edge of the coal, thus sparing these coal millionaires the experience of living next to their dusty and noisy coal mines. However, the coal trains coming from Pocahontas and Boissevain did rumble through the town constantly.


Scene at the reconstructed railroad depot. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

View of Main Street of Bramwell from the depot. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

The stone building, built in 1893, was a very important structure in a town of wealthy coal barons - it was the Bank of Bramwell. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Detail of iron fence at the rear of the bank. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

The Presbyterian church with Bramwell's Main Street in the background. The church was financed by Issac T. Mann, wealthy Bramwell resident and Pocahontas Fuel Co. officer. The coal company town of Itmann in Wyoming County was named for him. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Looking from the front of the Presbyterial church toward two historic homes. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

The blue home is known as the Goodwill House because it was constructed for the president of Goodwill Coal and Coke Co. - Phillip Goodwill. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Another view over the Bluestone River of the Goodwill House. The mansion on the left was built for coal baron W.H. Thomas. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Streetscape of Bramwell. Other Bramwell residents made wealthy by the coal industry included J.C. Pack, and also Jarius Collins, brother of coal baron Justus Collins (owned coal mines at Goodwill, Winding Gulf, and Whipple). (Apr. 2014 image by author)

View of the rear of the Cooper House from behind the Presbyterian Church. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

The Cooper House was named for Edward Cooper. His father operated nearby mines at the Coopers coal camp. The roof is made from copper, and there is supposed to be an indoor swimming pool on the property. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

The building at left was once the offices of the Pocahontas Company (affiliate of the mighty Pocahontas Fuel Co.). It is now known as the local Masonic Lodge. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Other sections of Bramwell are more typical of small Appalachian towns. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

On the left is the unused railroad that once ran up to coal mines at Freeman, Goodwill, McComas, and other coal camps. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Bramwell's Main Street still has several open establishments. (Apr. 2014 image by author)

Every Christmas season there is a tour of some of the homes at Bramwell. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Inside the home built for Issac T. Mann - one time president of Pocahontas Fuel Co., and namesake of the coal town of Itmann, W.Va. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Leather wall covering (imported from Venezuela) in the Mann house. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Stained glass chandelier in the Mann house. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Detail of the Issac Mann home showing a light fixture mounted on a wooden banister. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

This was once the home of coal baron Jarius Collins, who from Bramwell administered his nearby Goodwill and Greenbrier coal mines. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Living room in the former residence of Jarius Collins. He was the brother of coal baron Justus Collins, who had big mines at Winding Gulf, Whipple, and Glen Jean. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Stained glass window in the Collins house. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Collins house bathroom. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

This bedroom is on the second floor of the Collins home. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

Another upstairs room. (Dec. 2015 image by author)

On the night of the Christmas Tours this guy was busy at the soda fountain. (Dec. 2015 image by author)



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