It was the first snowy Sunday morning of the season as I drove up West Virginia Route 46 and pulled into the tiny town of Helvetia, population 59. Helvetia was settled by a small group of Swiss immigrants high in the West Virginia mountains just after the American Civil War. The isolation of Helvetia has certainly helped the residents continue many of their Swiss traditions, and I was there to enjoy one: the Bernerplatte buffet lunch at The Hutte Restaurant.
Arriving on a snowy morning was perfect as it added just that little extra touch of authenticity to my visit. I pulled off the highway and went for a wonderful walk around this small community...
John Henry is a popular American folk hero. His story has been told in print, story and song for almost 150 years. His is a classic tale of man vs. machine which is as valid today as ever, especially here in West Virginia.
Whether or not John Henry was a real person has been debated for over a century, but there is no doubt if you ask people in Talcott. West Virginia. Talcott is the town that sits on top of the Big Bend Tunnel, cut for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad between 1870 and 1872 and the site where the story of John Henry supposedly took place. They have built a beautiful park with a statue to this hero of the working man and local history includes many people who claim to have known John Henry and witnessed his famous competition.