VA: Pocahontas & Bramwell WV

The Town's namesake, J.H. Bramwell who arrived in 1883,
was a New York civil engineer (*to my family in NY: How about that!?)

As first postmaster of a new post office that needed a legal label, he was given the privilege of naming the town when the post office opened
August 14, 1883.

When have you seen a mailbox like this around town!?

I thought the "caging" around the top of the window/boxes area was pretty. Everything was all wood in here. BEAUTIFUL!

A whole wall of gorgeous old fashioned post office boxes with working dials!

Close up of these beautiful boxes.

The Bramwell Cafe

Formerly called Sadie's Place in May 2006 when it was opened by granddaughter of Sadie Bailey, Drema who opened the restaurant in Sadie's memory.
We were there in June 2008 and it had become The Bramwell Cafe.

As usual, John waits patiently for me to finish taking pictures so we could
go into the cafe and eat dinner :)

The day's menu is displayed on a sandwich board on the sidewalk out front.
Homemade foods and desserts served buffet style.

I love the old fashioned screen doors and regular doors on each of the stores.
This is the cafe entrance.

This was Friday night. It appears they push most of the tables together in long rows and the town's people came drifting in a few at a time! It's Town's Night Out and time to reconnect with your neighbors apparently!

The food bar is the L-shaped section in the back right corner. The food was delicious. It was a buffet. Eat, have seconds, take home dessert at the cost of $10 each!

The Blue Moon gift shop

The Corner Store
Currently under renovation by a new owner. Contains the original long marble soda counter
, the triangular glass tables, the chicken-wire-pattern tile floor and the cherry cabinetry made on site by Welsh carpenters. The building served as ice cream parlor, pharmacy and perfumery to the town.

Other than Paris and New York, it was the
only place in the world where Chanel No. 5 perfume was sold, and, according to one account, the Bryant Pharmacy, now known as the Corner Shop, sold about $25,000 worth of the perfume per year. That's about $300,000 in today's dollars!

~~The Bank of Bramwell~~
J.H. Bramwell
, the first postmaster became the first president of the famed Bank of Bramwell, and a big-time real estate investor.

After being closed for several years and used by a theatrical group at one time, it reopened as a bank in March 2007 after refurbishing and modernization with computer terminals. The bank now operates as a branch of New People's Bank.

Note regarding J.H. Bramwell: After getting rich on real estate sales in Bramwell , he left the town for Switzerland where he died in the 1890s.

He missed the stock market crash and depression of the 1933 which wiped out Bramwell’s millionaires. Seven of the towns millionaires committed suicide at that time, which badly shook the town.

When you walk into the bank, the first thing you see is the above wall. Teller's windows are on left. Waiting room beyond.

All beautifully carved wood!

The original curved tiled floor in front of the teller's windows

The other end of the teller's windows with the old vault door open in the background.

When the teller saw me taking pictures, she closed the vault door so I could see how pretty it is! It's beautiful!

The waiting area. The teller told us that if we could wait a few minutes, the manager would come out and talk to us! He did and we sat in his beautiful office with him while he told us stories of the old town!

Part of the old original linoleum floor of the managers office not covered with carpet. It was laid piece by piece like a giant jigsaw puzzle. How different!

Photo in front of the Bank looking down the brick road.
It was also called Doctor's Row and the coal company built a few "modest"
homes along here for the coal company doctors.

Bramwell once had 4,000 residents. Today has about 400.

The Perry House
The Perry House is located on Main Street next to the Bramwell Bank and was built by the Bramwell Bank in 1902. The house was occupied for many years by one of the bank's first cashiers, J.B. Perry and his family. It continued to be occupied by the some of the Perry family members until 1982.

The home is now operated as a B & B and is open year around.

The Dr. McNeer House (2 views)
The H.V. McNeer house may be the oldest home in Bramwell.
Dr. McNeer bought it from the Bluestone Land Corp in 1889.

NOTE: This 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 the Dr. McNeer's bedroom!

The Collins House (2 views)
Built in 1911 by Jairus Collins a coal baron who owned 6 mines. It's a brick and frame vernacular style home and the former River's Bend B&B .

As with many of these old houses, they are quite long in length.

The Hewitt House
Completed in 1914 by the wife (Katharine Reedy Hewitt) of one of
Bramwell's founders, Col. John D. Hewitt, Sr who was the first
mayor of Bramwell and was president of the Buckeye Coal and Coke Company.
He was one of the true Coal Barons of southern WV.

This was the last coal-baron house built in Bramwell.
It went on the market for sale the summer of 2008 and previously
functioned as THE RIVER'S END B&B

(Episcopal Church)

Built in 1893, was bequeathed to the Town of Bramwell in about 2005.
Currently unused, it was built by a man who was actually a ship builder.

The building has many unique features, such as the round stained glass windows. The most impressive feature is the woodwork, both on the ceiling and the walls. The artistry of its creation is probably the reason it is still standing today.

Found this pic online - The roof in the main room, with exposed beams, resembles the hull of a great ship turned upside down as you can see here.

The Goodwill House
Now called
THE BLUE LADY by today's residents.
Built in 1895 by Philip Goodwill, general manager of
Goodwill Coal and Coke. and features a large 3rd floor ballroom.
It has 17 rooms and is comprised of 6500 square feet.

The Thomas House
In 1909 Colonel William H. & Annie Cooper-Thomas began construction on this grand house which remains a showplace today.
Plaster on the living room ceiling and carved panels on the walls
remain in mint condition. It was built with a central vacuum-cleaning system, dumbwaiter to the third floor which contained a ballroom and garage guest house with carriage-wash.

Several blocks surrounding the town have these beautiful stone walls
on both sides of the road. So attractive.

That's John walking ahead of me.
Several bridges throughout the town cross the river. We crossed two of this type. I thought the metal "tracks" interesting on the old wooden bridge.

This was the only rock on that part of the river that protruded out of the water - and where a little snake found a spot to sun itself.

The river is full of large carp!
We were surprised to see so many of them.

A cute little muskrat even swam across the river as we stood there
watching the fish!
See his tail?

This concludes the several days spent in Pocahontas, Cooper and Bramwell during our two visits in June. It was difficult to pick and choose a "few" pictures to put on my blog out of the hundreds of pictures I have taken all around these towns. I hope the ones I have selected give you an idea of what these areas look like.

Send comments & questions to


Anonymous said...

Great pics of our wonderfully unique little town. Thank you.

Yvonne said...

Glad that you liked them and told me so! Thank you for the compliment. I am glad you enjoyed them. Hope you saw the pics on the previous page as well. Yvonne

WEB said...

I lived in Pocahontas from 1944-1950. My Dad was a coal miner, took tests (self taught) in Charleston to qualify...was promoted to Assistant Supervisor and transferred from Maybeury, WVA to Pocahontas. My life in Pocahontas was wonderful in all respects.

Your photographs are terrific and bring back so many great memories. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Bill Blevins. I now live in Charleston South Carolina near my daughter.

Yvonne said...

THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ALL YOUR WONDERFUL COMMENTS! I have more pictures from a couple of years after these that I would like to add and hope to do that soon though I never seem to get to it somehow!!
I am so happy to hear from ALL OF YOU and to know that everyone enjoyed my pictures so much. It touched my heart and made me so glad I posted them. THANK YOU!