Bramwell icon reflects on her legacy before final home tour

Mercer County

On the quiet streets of Bramwell, people can sometimes find lifelong resident Betty Goins walking guests around the neighborhood and through the homes in which coal operators once lived.

Goins said it is something she has done since the 1980’s, when the Historic Bramwell Walking Tours were born.

“The ladies were sitting around saying, ‘How are we going to raise funds?’ and one lady said ‘Well we live in these homes that the coal operators built why don’t we open homes and it could be a tour?'” Goins remembered. “One of the ladies said ‘who in the world would ever visit our houses?’ and so 35 years later here we are.”

As an organizer for these home tours, she now focuses on making luminary bags for the Christmas Home Tour, which is her final walking tour as organizer before she retires from the many duties it takes to plan them.

“You have to get workers in all of the homes, you have to get the press out, you have to make sure that everything is clicking. The fire department is notified because today were packaging luminary bags,” Goins said. 

Although retiring is a strong word, Goins insisted she will still be active in helping with tours and will never fail to keep the history of Bramwell alive. In fact, just two years ago she even wrote a book about it.

“The story of Bramwell is such a human story and I want it to continue after I’m gone. I want people to know what our history is,” Goins stressed. “It’s not just history of the coal fields and Southern West Virginia, but it connects to American history.”

People can join Goins and their community for the Bramwell Christmas Home Tour Saturday, December 8,  from 5 P.M. to 10 P.M. 

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