It is eight miles northwest of Grantsville, the Village of Big Bend, along the waters of
the Little Kanawha River. It is often called Brooksville by old-timers in Sunny Cal, most
people believing it was named after the presence of one of Calhoun's memorable
old-time characters, Creed Brooks.
Since the village was first established in 1856, it is likely named for a famous member
of the Virginia Assembly named Brooks. Yellow Creek empties into the Little Kanawha
at the lower end of the village, where a new bridge was recently built.
It the early history of the county, Big Bend was in contention with Arnoldsburg and
Grantsville to be the county seat. At the end of the Civil War the village had a
Methodist Church and a public school. The population of the village was about 50
people, much the same as today.
With the growth of the timber, oil and gas industries, the village grew and grew with
two blacksmiths, four general stores, a wagon maker, a hardware store, a flour mill
and two physicians.
The village really boomed after Lowther Oil Company discovered oil on Yellow Creek
in 1901. Big Bend then developed hotels, boarding houses and speak-easies. (SEE
early stories about the community in Norma Knott's Shaffer's MOMENTS IN TIME).
Holbert's Store, now operated by Ray Holbert, is one of the longest running
businesses in the county. Two major fires caused a great deal of excitement. In 1932
a gasoline truck exploded in front of Holbert's, burning the store, service station and
two houses to the ground. Holbert's was destroyed by fire again in 1963.
Sunday there was little movement in the village. We barely caught a glimpse of Ruth
Bartlett dashing into her house while Ray Holbert was complaining about the
hundreds of gypsy moths dropping to the ground.
Hi-Rise Pizza was doing a big
Sunday dinner business and Jeremy Frederick's muddin' truck was in the lot while he
and some friends picked up food, Little Kanawha Car Care operated by Kevin Wease, waiting for business on
Jesse Jackson (not the Rainbow Coalition reverend being sued for child support) has
cleaned the grounds of the old Brooksville School, which he purchased. Still standing
is the old Gym.
82-year-old Mildred Smith wandered from her converted school house dwelling to
enjoy the Sunday sun. "I cooked in this old two-room school house many years ago,"
she said. Mildred's husband, J. W. Smith, Jr. died a few years ago.
The new Brooksville Baptist Church is erecting a large community center at the rear
of the main building.
Family Center at Brooksville Baptist Church under construction
Big Bend, looking west on Route 5
Old Brooksville Baptist Church, across from Holbert's Store
Holbert's Store, Ruth Bartlett's home in background
Big Bend looking east on Route 5
Brooksville United Methodist Church
U.S. Post Office - Big Bend
Original Big Bend two-room school, above Route 5
J.W. Smith, Jr., residence, converted school house
Mildred Smith, 82, was a cook in the old school
where she has lived for over 40 years
Jeremy Frederick's muddin' truck at Hi-Rise Pizza