West Virginia South April - May 2019 - Page 7

FOUR ❖ STARTERS Southern West Virginia is dotted with grand homes left behind from a time when coal barons and their families first arrived. But those beautiful homes are perhaps most prevalent in Mercer County's Bramwell, often referred to as "The Town of Millionaires." "The bank of Bramwell had more money on deposit per capita than anywhere in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th Century because of coal barons," says Bramwell native Betty Goins. And although the barons have long since packed their bags, each year since 1983, curious guests have visited Bramwell for an opportunity to tour some of those extravagant homes they left behind as part of the Bramwell Spring Tour of Homes. Each one — featuring everything from carriage houses to ballrooms — are privately owned, so Goins says it's difficult to say how many homeowners will participate from year-to-year. But those homes open for guests will have a historical interpreter allowing visitors to tour at their own pace. "We feel like we need to preserve our heritage," says Goins, a historical interpreter who serves as a tour coordinator for the Bramwell Theater Corporation. "We feel like we can do that by opening up our vintage homes and talking about our history." This year's tour is scheduled for June 8 and begins at Bramwell Presbyterian Church in downtown Bramwell at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 each. APRIL-MAY '19 ❖ SOUTH ❖ 7