Editor’s note: The following is reprinted, with permission, from Mary Keller Bowman’s “Reference Book of Wyoming County History,” published in 1965.

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Mullens’ “growing pains” were occasionally severe and frightening. In 1917, the first disastrous fire in the business district quickly reduced its flimsy frame buildings to ashes. They were replaced by buildings of the same construction.

In 1919, another fire destroyed most of the business district. To replace the burned buildings as quickly as possible, “portable” wooden buildings were shipped in and erected, creating an even greater fire hazard.

Business boomed. J.C. Sullivan built the Wyoming Hotel, furnished it, and was ready to open for business. On Dec. 23, 1920, another fire destroyed most of the business section, including the Wyoming Hotel.

This disaster brought the town to its senses. The municipal authorities passed ordinances zoning and regulating construction and requiring a safe standard of permanent construction.

J.C. Sullivan rebuilt the Wyoming Hotel. Abe Smiley, proprietor of the White Kitchen Restaurant for several years, built and operated the Smiley Hotel. The Mullens Hotel, facing the depot, was the third hotel built. All three stand today (1964). Smiley lost his hotel early in the depression of the 1930s and went back to the restaurant business. His hotel was converted into storerooms on the street floor and apartments above.

Bell Telephone service was made available to Mullens residents in 1916.

In 1925, the main business streets were paved.

In 1938, the Amere Gas Company installed gas mains and service to the city.

A modern sewage disposal plant was completed in 1963.

The town of Mullens was incorporated Sept. 16, 1912. A.J. Mullins, Edward Shrewsbury, and M.M. Rutherford, commissioners of election, certified returns, 42 votes for, none against.

The file includes a census of residents within the corporate limits by name and age, taken by Grover C. Worrell, as well as the ballots cast still on the string, and the tally of votes.

A.J. Mullins lived to see his town grow into a flourishing place of business, and actively engaged in furthering its progress. In addition to looking after his personal business, he served two terms as justice of the peace and two terms as mayor beginning in 1912.

He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1914 and again 1916.

During all these years and as long as his health permitted, he was an active minister of the Primitive Baptist Church, affiliated with the Elkhorn Association, and was often sent as corresponding minister to the Mate Creek, Indian Creek, Pocatalico, and other district associations. During the 1930s, he served two years as moderator of the Elkhorn Association.

At his own expense, Mullins built the first church at Mullens. In later years, he was most generous to its successor. On one occasion, his association was held in a grove at mouth of Bearhole. He brought with him two cars and invited home with him several of the corresponding ministers and delegates in attendance, knowing that the Tilleys and other families who patronized this church had limited sleeping room to offer the visitors. When the organization dwindled away, he and Hampton Evans transferred their interest and attendance to the Guyandotte Church near Lamar. A.J. Mullins, the founder of Mullens, died February 26, 1938, age 81.

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