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100 Years of Comfort

100 Years of Comfort

A Century of Service and Growth

Since 1922, we’ve had the pleasure of bringing comfort to the communities of Charlottesville and Albemarle community. What began as a small, backyard plumbing business has evolved into a full-service home comfort systems company with a century-long reputation for quality and service.

Old photo of W.E. Brown offices

Thank You

Our story and our mission would not be the same without our customers. From Charlottesville businesses to local universities to homes across Albemarle County, each customer gives us the opportunity to bring more comfort to our community.

Thank you for your loyalty, support and trust. From day one, our commitment has been to deliver services that exceed your expectations and provide the utmost comfort. It is this promise that gives us our history and guarantees our future. Here’s to another century of comfort!

The History of W.E. Brown


The business is founded by W.E. “Willie” Brown and Guy Johnson. It was originally named Brown & Johnson and was located in a little building on Second Street Southwest.


Brown receives his master plumber’s license from the City of Charlottesville. It is thought to be the oldest such license in the city.


Brown and Johnson decide to part ways, and the company is officially named “W.E. Brown”. The business moves to a larger building on the 500 block of West Main Street.

Old photo of W.E. Brown offices


W. E. Brown completes plumbing work at Charlottesville’s Paramount Theater. The total cost of the project, which includes the installation of hot and cold water lines into the boiler room, was $143 total.


Though plumbing and heating services and appliances sales were doing well, the onslaught of the Depression hits hard. Brown closes the West Main facility and moves operations to his backyard. For the next 7 years, Brown works out of his garage on Douglas Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood.


Brown’s daughter Barbara’s partner, Merritt P. “Duke” Martin joins the family firm. Martin helps the business add on new services, including air and water heating and sheet metal services.



W.E. Brown buys four lots on Monticello Road in Belmont. They open up a building of twenty-four feet by eighty feet that is still part of the company’s offices today.


Brown’s son, Gene, becomes president of the firm. The facility continues to expand and grow at 915 Monticello Road.

Black and white photo of front-window featuring anniversary logo


Barbara’s and Merritt’s son, John Martin, takes the reins of the family-owned company.

Close-up of team members
Team posing
Jay and Jim talking on a couch


Now, with almost one hundred employees and a fleet of more than fifty service trucks, W.E. Brown is still headquartered in the Belmont neighborhood and still known for 5-star home comfort services.

Birthday graphic with service icons