Roads to Appalachia through Belgium
and the Germanic Roots of Western Germany & Northern Switzerland

July 08 – 20, 2011
Itinerary & Application
 
Sponsored by the Frank & Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center Arrangements by National Travel In Summer 2011, the “Roads to Appalachia through Study-Travel Abroad” will travel to Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland in search of our region’s connections to these root areas. As part of the largest and earliest ethnic population in America, the Germans settled in eastern and northern “western” (West) Virginia by the early to mid 18th Century, primarily emigrating from the Rhineland-Palatinate region of western Germany. By the mid 19th Century, German Swiss settlements were being made throughout central West Virginia, with the Aargau Region of Switzerland populating the small West Virginia mountain village of Helvetia. Among the heavy wave of settlers into Central Appalachia during the early 20th Century’s Industrial Revolution, many glassworkers came from Belgian cities, such as Charleroi. Settling throughout West Virginia, these Europeans brought with them varied skills, traditions, customs, storytelling, and other folkloric elements that are still being perpetuated in parts of Central Appalachia.

    A 2011 Spring Semester course, “Roads to Appalachia through Belgium and the Germanic roots of Western Germany and Northern Switzerland,” will be offered for those traveling to the European Countries during the Summer of 2011. Two local texts have been chosen to accent this course including Gerald Milnes’ Signs, Cures, and Witchery: German Appalachian Folklore, and David H. Sutton’s Helvetia: The History of a Swiss Village in the Mountains of West Virginia. This special “Study-Travel Abroad” program will be led and hosted by Dr. Judy Prozzillo Byers, Director, and Noel W. Tenney, Cultural Specialist, both of the Folklife Center.

Contact Info

The Frank and Jane Gabor
West Virginia Folklife Center

on the campus of Fairmont State University
1201 Locust Avenue
Fairmont, WV 26554
(304) 367-4403
wvfolklife@fairmontstate.edu


Dr. Judy P. Byers
Dr. Judy P. Byers
, Director Frank & Jane Gabor WV Folklife Center,
  Abelina Suarez Professor, Senior Level,
  English & Folklore Studies
Fairmont State University
(304) 367-4286
jbyers@fairmontstate.edu
 


 

FSUNow Stories

Thursday, May 28, 2015

In celebration of Fairmont State University’s Sesquicentennial, the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center has created an exhibit titled “On a Hill by a Dream,” which features FSU history, traditions and lore.

The title for the exhibition was taken from a poem by Louise McNeill, West Virginia’s former Poet Laureate who taught history at Fairmont State. The following quote is from her “Chestnut Orchard” (“Paradox Hill: From Appalachia to Lunar Shore”):

“Back through the years beyond time and space,
On a hill—by a dream—we will find that place.”

Read more
Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State University will host “A Salute to Old-Time Music: Presenting Two Legendary Fiddlers in Concert” at 7 p.m. Friday, May 8.

Read more
Monday, April 20, 2015

The West Virginia Storytelling Guild will present a free concert, “Stories A-Bloom!,” at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 24, at the Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center on the campus of Fairmont State University.

Six storytellers from the West Virginia Storytelling Guild will entertain with a variety of stories from their repertoires. There also will be books and CDs from various tellers available for purchase.

Read more