Helvetia: A Swiss Village in the Hills of West Virginia explores the unique founding and development of a community nestled within the wilderness of Appalachia. Established in 1869, this tiny Swiss settlement embodies the American immigrant experience, reflecting the steadfast desire of settlers to preserve cultural traditions and values while adapting to new and extraordinary surroundings. From ramp suppers to carnivals, traditional architecture, folk music, and cheese making, this book documents a living community by exploring the ethnic customs, farming practices, community organization, and language maintenance of Helvetia residents. Drawing upon a diverse body of resources such as Swiss and American archival documents and local oral accounts, this chronicledepicts the everyday social and economic life of this village during the past two centuries. Helvetia celebrates a small community where residents and visitors alike continue to practice a Swiss American culture that binds an international history to a local heritage.
Long out of print, this reissued edition of the history of Helvetia contains a new introduction, a concise index, a bibliography, an appendix of foreign-born immigrants, and an exquisite photographic essay featuring archival images of a Swiss village still thriving within the isolated backcountry of central West Virginia.