Many of you are familiar with Helvetia because of it's most popular landmark - the Hutte Restaurant. I am probably one of the last West Virginians to have not eaten there since I'm not there at mealtime or there was a long line out the door. One day, soon!
After the end of the Civil War, a group of Swiss and German-speaking immigrants calling themselves the Gruetli Verein formed in Brooklyn, New York. The members agreed that they would all emigrate to another section of the country together when the time was right.
A member of the society named Isler surveyed large swaths of the eastern West Virginia mountains for a Washington-based firm, and reported back to the society on the richness of the country. A committee of six men was assembled, and left Brooklyn by rail on October 15, 1896. They arrived at Clarksburg and began the difficult work of traveling by foot over the mountains.
They reached a plot that was on offer for sale on October 20, and were disappointed by the extreme thickness of the wilderness in this lightly settled and rugged country. The land was very reasonably priced, though, and they had offers of other assistance from the land agents in Clarksburg if they would encourage further settlement in the area. After hearing the report of this exploration, the society members all decided they would go to West Virginia.
Because of the low cost of the land, all of the settlers were able to buy their own tracts, ranging from a small house lot to hundreds of acres. One hundred acres were set aside at the center of the community and laid off into lots, which were sold to skilled tradesmen as an incentive.
At the beginning of 1871, there were thirty-two people living in the community. A new arrival in that year, C.E. Lutz, became the local land agent and wrote advertisements in English and German for papers across the country extolling the virtues of the settlement. New settlers came from various parts of the United States and Canada, and some immigrated directly from Switzerland.In addition to farmers and herdsmen, many craftsmen and professionals were among the settlers: stone masons; carpenters; painters; wagon, shoe, watch, hat, and cheese makers; musicians; teachers; ministers; and doctors. By 1874 the community's population had grown to a heady 308.
(End of Wikipedia quote)
See the Wikipedia article for a list of fairs and festivals in this interesting town.
CR 46 passes through Helvetia, heading east from just below French Creek (where it starts out as CR 11) and continuing east (where it joins CR 46 and continues on to Mill Creek) is a great ride. It's a narrow, twisty road with lots of hidden driveways and slow traffic (sometimes), but if you take your time it's a road you will want to re-visit often.
Historical Marker - located by the Community Center on CR46
Community Hall - site of the Community Fair in September - just like a county fair with food and craft exhibits and blue ribbons.
View down "Main St". Nice quiet town.
Town Library and historical center (lots of old photos and memorabilia)
The Hutte - Swiss/German Restaurant. I've heard many people talk about the great food, but my timing is bad - I'm either passing through at 2:30, running late, or there is a long line out the door (City Fair). It's on my list of "must do's."
** NOTE - The WV Historical Marker website lists a second identical sign down by the Hutte. I missed that one, if someone else is going by and wants to add it.......... Thanks.