The town became known for housing the nation's largest per capita population of millionaires. Some accounts hold that 12 to 14 millionaires lived in Bramwell at the same time. Stoker, a lifelong resident of the town, said her research indicates that 23 millionaires lived here during the span of two decades.
While the coal barons and captains of industry are long gone, thanks mainly to the Great Depression, many of their homes remain, and are well cared for. They remain a source of pride for the town of 364.
"The homes are beautiful, but the stories of the people who lived in them and around them are what makes this town special," said Stoker.
During the second Saturday in May, the town hosts its annual Spring Tour of Historic Bramwell Homes, followed on the second Saturday in December by its annual Christmas tour.
The Christmas tour, which starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, is self-guided, but its route is marked with luminaries. Tickets for the event are available for $15 starting at 4 p.m. from the historic Bramwell Presbyterian Church, across the street from the Bank of Bramwell building, which will also be open during the Christmas tour.
Several historic downtown businesses will remain open beyond the 8:30 p.m. closing time for the tour, including the Bramwell Cafe, which offers buffet dinners with spaghetti and ham entrees, and the Corner Shop, where cinnamon rolls, chicken and dumplings and turkey stacks will be featured.
Last year's Christmas tour drew between 300 and 400 visitors.
"I suggest people come early, so they can find a parking place and look around and maybe shop a little before the tour begins," Stoker said. "This is a special time of the year, but we try to be warm and welcoming all year round."
For more information on the tour or the town, call Bramwell Town Hall at 304-248-7114.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.