The community of Helvetia was settled by a small group of German-speaking Swiss immigrants in 1869. Other immigrants followed, and Helvetia evolved into a small, thriving community. Until the turn of the century when timbering began in the surrounding mountains, residents lived in relative isolation, maintaining their culture and native language. The 20th century brought great change, but Helvetia residents continued many of their traditions. Even today, visitors to the Randolph County community can participate in traditional celebrations, such as Fasnacht, which marks the end of winter and the beginning of Lent.
This exhibit is based on the work of David Sutton, who grew up in Helvetia. He is the author of the book Helvetia: The History of a Swiss Village in the Mountains of West Virginia published by West Virginia University Press. (The book is available at http://wvupressonline.com.) Sutton’s book contains numerous photographs, some taken by Walter Aegerter, who was born in Helvetia in 1894.
View our article on Helvetia.
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