Here's a fascinating article from washingtonpost.com about a place I've been meaning to visit for years, Bramwell, WV.
Bramwell (pronounced Brammel, not as it's spelled) was Grand Central of the coal operators back in the day. My home town was as well. In fact, the Watson mansion is a lovely, sprawling mansion in the center of town, now the home to two businesses, a rest home and a funeral parlor. With my morbid streak, I've often wondered if there's a two-fer deal if residents contract for services at both businesses.
But back to it. With my love for all things old and Victorian, I'd love to go to Bramwell to see the architecture. Plus, you've got to want to visit the location of the world's longest poker game (according to Ripley's Believe it or Not).
But nothing comes for free. While the operators were imbibing centuries-old Scotch and their wives were bathing in Chanel No. 5, miners and their families were suffering. The riches the article speaks of did not extend to the coal camps. Or the mines. Abhorrent safety conditions in the mines and dreadful sanitation practices in the coal camps (set up by the operators) lead to extreme mortality rates. That's not to mention the massive disasters. Don't worry...you'll hear personal accounts on the Monongah disaster of 1908 (OK, so I wasn't around then, but Grandma was) closer to the anniversary. These conditions were what financed Bramwell and the Watson mansion. There was a lot of money made those days. None went to the ones taking the risks and doing the work.
I just don't know if I can visit Bramwell and marvel at the architecture without seeing blood from my people dripping from the gingerbread.
What say you?