Pence Hotel

 The Pence Hotel, a longtime downtown landmark of Bramwell and one of the first locations visitors see upon entering, will be receiving a preservation grant from the Preservation Alliance of West Virginia to help maintain and renovate the building.

BRAMWELL — A longtime downtown landmark is getting the money needed to help stabilize its structure and get it on the road to restoration and serving the public again.

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia announced this week that the Pence Hotel in Mercer County, and the Wyoming Hotel in nearby Wyoming County, are this year’s first recipients of its Saving Historical Places Grants. The program is the Alliance’s initiative to save historical places in the Mountain State by funding emergency stabilization work and jump-starting building preservation projects with pre-development funds.

Independently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Pence Hotel is one of the first buildings visitors see when entering Bramwell, alliance officials said. A contributing structure to the Bramwell Historic District, it will receive Saving Historical Places Grant funds for much needed emergency stabilization work including wall stabilization; the first of four planned phases to restore the building.

“Once restored, the hotel will host a Company Store on the ground level, and provide an economic boost to the town and region” explained Gene Buckner, president of the Mercer County Commission.

The hotel’s structure does need stabilization,” Mayor Louise Stoker said. “After that, restoration can begin. The goal is to have it serve once again as a hotel, and there are many people who come in who want to stay for a night; they’re tourists who are not ATV people. They’re people who formerly lived here and come back. Another goal is to have a store on the first floor.”

Stoker said the grant is for $6,000.

Built in 1910, the current Pence Hotel replaced a hotel that burned in January that year, Stoker said. The replacement hotel was built, owned and operated by Jennie Pence.

Bramwell has seen a constant stream of tourists ever since the Pocahontas Trail, Mercer County’s branch of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, opened for riders. Stoker said a restored hotel could serve all the ATV riders as well as other visitors who come to town.

“We want to serve all types of tourists,” Stoker said. “It’s a good project.”

“The Saving Historical Places Grant funds are being used to save these buildings from collapse,” said Danielle Parker, executive director of the Alliance. “We are delighted to be able to help save these important historical resources that tell the story of our coal heritage, and we are excited that there are active community efforts to rehabilitate these buildings. However, we know that there is a long road ahead for these buildings to be fully functioning as we hope. We urge anyone who is interested in saving these buildings to consider donating to these projects as well.”

The Preservation Alliance of West Virginia is the statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to historic preservation. The Alliance continues to fundraise for its Saving Historical Places Grant program and is accepting donations for this program. Donations of $500 or more may be eligible for Neighborhood Investment Program tax credits. For more information, visit its website at www.pawv.org or call 304-345-6005.:

Bramwell has seen a constant stream of tourists ever since the Pocahontas Trail, Mercer County’s branch of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail, opened for riders. Stoker said a restored hotel could serve all the ATV riders as well as other visitors who come to town.

 Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

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