Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 31

Thread: Some thoughts on Appalachia

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684

    Some thoughts on Appalachia

    My dog Tucker and I took some time off and traveled down to East Tennessee to visit some friends who just moved there. We traveled down through PA to I 81(Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, Tennessee) on the way south. On the way back, we followed I 81 to I 64/77 to US 19 and I 79 again (Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, PA).

    Here are my pictures from various spots, including the small town of Jonesborough, TN, which is the oldest town in Tennessee.
    Appalachia

    Some of my impressions:
    • Western PA may be among the most economically backward areas in the US, and definitely socially backwards, Pittsburgh and Erie metros excepted. If there are NOT more house trailers per capita than in East Tennessee, then there certainly are more crappy single-wide mobile homes than elsewhere. I've lived 10 miles from the PA border for nearly 15 years, and have never been tempted to move to PA although, technically, various taxes are less, even though I've never been ashamed of my redneck roots.
    • The Shenandoah Valley was as beautiful and picturesque as advertised. I was surprised that the valley was rather hilly compared to the much flatter and narrower valleys you find in NYS. I drove through downtown Winchester, VA, on our way to the suburban motel, and I'm going to have to visit again. Winchester is full of Civil War history plus the Cedar Creek battle historic site is about 20 miles away, but it was rainy, so the pup and I just crashed. The cloudy and rainy weather the next day kept us from taking the Skyline Drive, but we'll back the next time. One thing I noticed is that there were a lot of colleges through out western Virginia, which has to help the economy by providing a solid employment base.
    • East Tennessee was both somewhat like I imagined, and somewhat surprising.
      1. The small cities of Jonesborough and Greenville were both busy and looked to be fairly prosperous. Both have historic districts (I didn't get to see Greeneville's because of the lousy weather). Sprawl is filling the areas around both cities like it is the rest of America.
      2. Agriculture remains a staple in Greene County, especially cattle grazing. I swear, I saw more beef cattle in SW Virginia and E Tennessee than I've seen since I spent a couple of years out in Nebraska. I didn't see much truck farming and just a little tobacco farming.
      3. In the rural areas near the mountains, virtually all the houses, businesses, and small farms were clustered in small valleys, or, "hollows". If you saw the movie Coal Miner's Daughter where the Loretta Lynn's home was one of several clustered in a hollow, then that's what it seemed like in the mountainous valleys. You can see the evidence of past and current poverty: tiny homes, lots of mobile homes (including people apparently living in campers), and multiple houses/trailers clustered on tiny lots.
      4. The hills in Tennessee were much steeper than in VA or WV, even when used for agriculture.
      5. I found the presence of so many churches to be somewhat oppressive. They were almost all either Baptist or Free Will Baptist with only a few other denominations, and those mostly in the larger towns. In some of the small communities, it seemed that there had to be about 1 church for every 40 or 50 people. This wasn't true in the bigger places, but in the rural areas, these small churches were ubiquitous.
      6. Not only were the roads winding and twisting, but there were literally no shoulders. A bit unnerving.
      7. I was surprised at the diversity in East Tennessee. The South has a reputation for being pretty conservative, but the people in East Tennessee seemed at least as tolerant as most Americans (and more so than many in my least favorite state). There was a significant number of Hispanics in the towns of Greenville and Jonesborough -- and lots of Chinese and Mexican restaurants, too. Also notable was that I didn't see a single Confederate flag anywhere in our wanderings.
    • West Virginia was almost exactly what I imagined it. It seemed to be less prosperous than the Shenandoah Valley but more prosperous than East Tennessee. The secondary roads were winding and twisting, but a little wider than the ones in Tennessee. The hills weren't as steep and the valleys were a little wider. Berkley Springs is a gorgeous little town in the northern part of the state that I will have to explore in the future. I stayed a night in Fairmont, off I 79, south of Morgantown, and the pup and I had Valley Falls SP all to ourselves the next morning.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  2. #2
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,844
    Cool photos! You captured the feeling very well!! And I couldn’t agree more with your PA assessment.

    Two summers ago I traveled with the family back east. We spent some time in Buffalo, at the Allegeny State Park in NY, Ohio and then to the tiny town of Dawson which sits on the Youghegany River and had been a bustling town prior to and for a little while after the turn of the century. My great grandfather owned a jewlelry and watchmaker shop there before they moved to Oklahoma around 1905. In looking at maps, terrain and a few select Realtor.com properties, I wondered “why did my family leave this area?” They had been there since the mid-17th century in that part of southwestern PA.

    But then we visited.

    Now I’m sure it wasn’t that bad when they left, but its certainly completely bleak and depressing now. We spent a day walking around this very small settlement. There were some amazing houses that were built by folks who had made big money selling coke (not cocaine but coal processed for the steel mills) but mostly everything was in demise. Seriously, I felt like is the population went on vacation for a month, the forest would just swallow the place up. We walked down to the river to at least get some rejuvenation from the decaying buildings only to find it littered with all manner of trash, including car parts. The only social activity we saw were some government folks from Child Services coming to do home visits. Boarded up homes - some occupied, some not - and a small band of friendly kids who were clearly bored out of their skulls and looking to get into some trouble seemed to exemplify the experience.

    Really, I couldn’t imagine a more depressing place. That it was rainy and foggy didn’t help, but when I looked at your photographs, it seems this is more the norm than the exception.

    My great grandfather’s jewelry store was somewhere in this building:


    Some more images of decay and glory:






    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    I have found this to be true too throughout western PA. I live 10 miles from the state line, so I've traveled there a lot.

    Bigger towns and small cities like Warren, Bradford, Coudersport, Ridgeway, etc have some magnificent vestiges from when they had a significant number of very wealthy people who made big $$$ in lumbering, mining, and oil, but they are now largely filled with elderly people and poor younger people. At least they have modest economies. When you get out into the boonies, though -- places like Chandler's Valley or Lander or Sheffield or Ludlow -- it's very much like these people subsist on welfare or handy man jobs unless they can get into logging, gas well drilling or coal mining.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
    Registered
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Where the Wild Things Are
    Posts
    2,255
    Great thread and interesting perspective. I've spent a lot of time in appalachia, mostly when I was living in VA for a couple years and several times driving through to visit friends/family in West Virginia, Raleigh or Charleston. My best Army buddy and good friend for 16+ years lives in Fairmont, WV with his wife and three boys. We used to go up there every other weekend and I'd stay with him and visit with him and his family (and his wife's family) quite a lot. It really gave me a taste of what living in the West Virginia hills is all about. Actually, where we used to visit was up closer to the south PA border in the middle of nowhere a good hour or so on country roads west of Morgantown. They all lived in one of those "hollows" you mentioned. His wife at the time lived in a single-wide trailer on her brother's property. Her brother owned a little car repair business out of their garage. The next town over (Metz, WV) was about 7 miles away and had about 100 people. They were all a very close family, and made me feel like I was a part of the family, too. The warmth of everybody is something I'll always remember. I still keep in touch with all of them although I am now on the other side of the country, but I'll always look forward to my next visit.

    You are right about the Shenandoah valley. Very beautiful. The Blue Ridge Parkway is worth a drive, too, as are the Smokies just a bit east of Knoxville, TN. Take the "Tail of the Dragon" through and then along Cherohala Skyway up to Asheville, NC. It is an incredibly scenic drive.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,565
    Blog entries
    3
    Some parts of upstate New York, mainly the Southern Tier, are technically and culturally part of Appalachia. You won't hear all-out Southern accents, but the accents of many in rural areas are much "twangier" than the standard nasal Western/Central NY accent. You won't see a lifestyle off the pages of the Foxfire series of books, aside from the hippie homesteaders and permaculturalists, perhaps. However, the cultural background and socioeconomic issues are still the same. Ethnic origins are largely Scots-Irish and Scottish Highlander, rather than the Italian, German and English you'll see elsewhere in rural Upstate NY. You'll hear about families that have been causing problems for local officials and law enforcement since the early 1800s. Among the top 20 Census tracts for percentage of residents with PhDs, six are in this county, but you wouldn't know it by a trip to the Walmart.

    Around these parts, there's some isolated pockets of Appalachian lifestyle poverty. In one town, public officials largely wrote off a large area for code enforcement, making it a "combat zone" of sorts. You'll see the same battered single wide mobile homes surrounded by the same kinds of collections of junked crap as you;ll see in an isolated West Virginia mountain holler. There's no support for zoning among long-time residents, and with the region's progressive proclivities, many just accept the mess - "Well, they have to live somewhere, and we have to be accepting of their lifestyle. They've been here longer than we have."



    On another note, I've always wondered why Detroit, Cleveland, Ashtabula and Pittsburgh experienced a large influx of workers from Appalachia during and after WWII, but not Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse. There were a lot of "[whatever]tucky" neighborhoods scattered around the Cleveland area, but not around Buffalo or its 'burbs.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    Dan, as an historian, I have to disagree with you about the Southern Tier being part of Appalachian culture. There are a lot of similarities today, but those don't really stem from a common culture.

    New York's Southern Tier was settled primarily by Yankees (New Englanders) or the descendents of Yankees. In the mid-19th century, these predominantly British settlers (mostly English/Welsh/Scots with relatively few Scotch Irish) were joined by Germans as well as some Irish and Swedes. Because these newcomers were in relatively small enclaves, they tended to shed much of their ethnic identity and adopt the Anglo-American culture much more quickly than immigrants who settled in larger ethnic enclaves. Later, especially in the early 20th century, many of the small Southern Tier cities witnessed immigration from both Italy and Eastern Europe as well as migration from Appalachia to provide workers for their numerous industries. (That's why not that many people from Appalachia made it up to Buffalo -- they could find "good work" in Jamestown or Olean or Salamanca). What you find is a diverse ethnic and religious fabric in the Southern Tier: Methodism, Congregationalism, Lutheranism, and Catholicism are the common denominations.

    The people who settled Appalachia were predominantly Scotch Irish and Baptist from further east towards the Atlantic coast. They tended to be poorer people who were looking for land to farm. Another difference: the early settlers brought with them the southern system of county-based governmental organization while in the Southern Tier, you still find the typical NY/NE governmental pattern of village-township-county.

    Since the mountains didn't provide the best farmland or much of it, the most ambitious farmers moved further west into Middle Tennessee and central Kentucky while the people who stayed behind were content with subsistence farming. Later, logging and then coal mining provided additional jobs, but throughout most of its history, Appalachia has never been a prosperous place, so it not only didn't attract many newcomers, it lost many of its most promising people to better opportunities elsewhere. Finally, Appalachia was devastated by the Civil War, not so much by major battles (Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge etc excepted) but by long-lasting guerrilla style warfare. Again, the area lost significant wealth and talent.

    The Southern Tier, if not lined with a great canal that supported a string of large cities and prosperous towns like further north, was fairly prosperous into the middle of the 20th century where just about every little town had one or more modest factories to provide off-farm jobs. It also had commercial agriculture: dairying and it's spin off jobs in milk processing plants, cheese factories, tanneries, farm implement dealers. The Erie Railroad and other smaller railroads snaked through the Southern Tier and connected the area to Cleveland, Buffalo, Rochester, Pittsburgh, and NYC. Part of this prosperity was due to geography and geology: the Ice Age glaciers broadened the valleys, lowered and gentled the hills, and dumped huge amounts of glacial debris in moraines. Part of the prosperity also came from the Protestant work ethic which stressed industriousness, frugality, and education, and said that ambition was a good thing. There were a lot of people who came to the Southern Tier not to be subsistence farmers but to speculate in land or cut timber or build railroads or work in factories.

    Today, the Southern Tier looks a lot like Appalachia, visually and demographically, but I think many rural areas in Wisconsin or New Mexico or Texas might look a lot like the Southern Tier and Appalachia, too, just minus the mountains. The demise of small/medium scale market agriculture and dispersed, independent manufacturing have doomed a lot of small cities and towns and rural areas that aren't within reasonable commutes to larger, still viable metropolitan areas. Aging populations, isolation, and poverty are what most of rural America are facing.

    I also think what you see as Appalachian culture around Ithaca is in many ways what you will also find in other parts of rural America. Redneck attitudes are also far more widespread IMO than many people realize, even in big cities. Keep in mind that in the late 19th century, Appalachia wasn't much different from most of rural America, just poorer. The thing is that much of the rest of America modernized while the isolation and poverty allowed the Appalachia area to fall further behind even other rural areas.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,217
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    On another note, I've always wondered why Detroit, Cleveland, Ashtabula and Pittsburgh experienced a large influx of workers from Appalachia during and after WWII, but not Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse. There were a lot of "[whatever]tucky" neighborhoods scattered around the Cleveland area, but not around Buffalo or its 'burbs.
    Here ya go.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillbilly_Highway
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    Metro Detroit
    Posts
    6,419
    Whenever I've driven through the hills of WV, it always feels like the most isolated and depressing of places. But that's an outsider's perspective.
    "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany"

  9. #9
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,565
    Blog entries
    3
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Dan, as an historian, I have to disagree with you about the Southern Tier being part of Appalachian culture. There are a lot of similarities today, but those don't really stem from a common culture..
    Thanks for posting that! Learned quite a bit.

    Even the relatively prosperous town where I now live got hit hard by deindustrialization in the 1980s and 1990s. It broke up families, with formerly blue-collar male workers unable to find employment and ultimately leaving, which is supposedly one of the reasons why there's such a lopsided ratio of 50+ women to men here.

    Every small town upstate seemed to have their plant or mill. Check out estate sales in the Buffalo area, and you'll find a lot of tools, knives and so on were made in various small towns in upstate New York until quite recently.

    I wonder what explains the "twang" I often hear at Walmart and in the area surrounding Elmira, Cortland, Watkins Glen and whatnot. It's really quite different than the usual Upstate accent.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Thanks for posting that! Learned quite a bit.

    Even the relatively prosperous town where I now live got hit hard by deindustrialization in the 1980s and 1990s. It broke up families, with formerly blue-collar male workers unable to find employment and ultimately leaving, which is supposedly one of the reasons why there's such a lopsided ratio of 50+ women to men here.

    Every small town upstate seemed to have their plant or mill. Check out estate sales in the Buffalo area, and you'll find a lot of tools, knives and so on were made in various small towns in upstate New York until quite recently.
    When I was growing up, my hometown, Gowanda, had Moench Tannery, Peter Cooper Glue, Gowanda Electronics, Knowles-Fisher and a bunch of small manufacturers plus the massive state mental hospital in nearby Collins and JN Adam Developmental Center in nearby Perrysburg. That had to be about 5000 jobs in the village or within 5 miles of it. It was a major job center for all of northern Cattaraugus County, the southern part of Erie County and northeastern Chautauqua County.

    Virtually all of those jobs are gone now. The state hospital jobs, which ranged from doctors and administrators to attendants to secretaries and janitors, have been replaced by many fewer Dept of Corrections jobs when the state hospital was converted into two state prisons. Unfortunately, many of the corrections officers live in Buffalo's Southtowns and commute south rather than living in and around Gowanda, so the village and area don't benefit that much from many of those jobs.

    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    I wonder what explains the "twang" I often hear at Walmart and in the area surrounding Elmira, Cortland, Watkins Glen and whatnot. It's really quite different than the usual Upstate accent.
    When I hear people referring to a small stream as a "crik" rather than a creek or putting something in a "sack" rather a bag, I know I'm back home. I suppose a linguist could explain the whys of it. I think there's a lot of influence from nearby PA, where many of the rural people have a noticeable twang.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  11. #11
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,565
    Blog entries
    3
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    When I was growing up, my hometown, Gowanda, had Moench Tannery, Peter Cooper Glue, Gowanda Electronics, Knowles-Fisher and a bunch of small manufacturers plus the massive state mental hospital in nearby Collins and JN Adam Developmental Center in nearby Perrysburg. That had to be about 5000 jobs in the village or within 5 miles of it. It was a major job center for all of northern Cattaraugus County, the southern part of Erie County and northeastern Chautauqua County. .
    Even here, there was Ithaca Gun, NCR, and Morse Chain, among many others. There's still some high end light manufacturing, but not much. It wasn't just CU, IC, vineyards, and specialty farms.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  12. #12
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
    Registered
    May 2005
    Location
    New Town
    Posts
    3,844
    Enjoying the history lesson on Appalachian settlement! I know very little about what happened further north, so this has been really educational. I love this stuff!

    My own family was in the southwestern PA mountains as early as the mid-17th century. While most of my family ancestry could be classified as Scots-Irish, these earliest immigrants were German or possibly Dutch (Junkin is the surname). The Murphy my great grandmother married was actually a recent immigrant, probably as a child, and still had a slight accent as an adult. So, contrary to what I would have thought, my earliest pre-Revolutionary War Appalachian relatives were most likely Germans and not Irish or Scottish. In looking at this German influence in Appalachia, I came across an interesting looking book called “Signs, Cures, and Witchery: German Appalachian Folklore” by Gerald Milnes.

    From the abstract:
    The persecution of Old World German Protestants and Anabaptists in the seventeenth century-following debilitating wars, the Reformation, and the Inquisition-brought about significant immigration to America. Many of the immigrants, and their progeny, settled in the Appalachian frontier. Here they established a particularly old set of religious beliefs and traditions based on a strong sense of folk spirituality. They practiced astrology, numerology, and other aspects of esoteric thinking and left a legacy that may still be found in Appalachian folklore today.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,954
    Linda, thank you. I was within ear shot of WV for 12 years. I honestly never considered NY to have a part of Appalachia before your posts. GA was problematic, but I have been through there. Now I have something else to study.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Enjoying the history lesson on Appalachian settlement! I know very little about what happened further north, so this has been really educational. I love this stuff!

    My own family was in the southwestern PA mountains as early as the mid-17th century. While most of my family ancestry could be classified as Scots-Irish, these earliest immigrants were German or possibly Dutch (Junkin is the surname). The Murphy my great grandmother married was actually a recent immigrant, probably as a child, and still had a slight accent as an adult. So, contrary to what I would have thought, my earliest pre-Revolutionary War Appalachian relatives were most likely Germans and not Irish or Scottish. In looking at this German influence in Appalachia, I came across an interesting looking book called “Signs, Cures, and Witchery: German Appalachian Folklore” by Gerald Milnes.
    It was very common for German immigrants in America to be called "Dutch" from Deutch. Some German-speaking immigrants were also identified on censuses as Swiss or Austrian. Most of the German immigrants prior to the mid-1800s tended to be varieties of Anabaptists, including the Mennonites and Amish, but also many others. These early German-Americans largely blended into the general population on the frontier.

    The 19th century saw wide-spread migration of German-speaking Catholics and Lutherans, who frequently settled in ethnic/religious rural enclaves in NYS and maintained their German culture through both churches and schools. My step-mother came from the German Lutheran town of Otto in northern Catt County where her parents attended a Lutheran school where they took lessons in both German and English rather than the local public school. In nearby Erie County, German Catholics settled in the town of Langford where they maintained a German parish and possibly a school. Patriotic fervor during WW I largely obliterated these vestiges of German immigrant culture.

    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    Linda, thank you. I was within ear shot of WV for 12 years. I honestly never considered NY to have a part of Appalachia before your posts. GA was problematic, but I have been through there. Now I have something else to study.
    You're welcome.

    I wasn't aware of the recent ties between NY's Southern Tier and Appalachia until I moved to Jamestown about 15 years ago. There are a lot of people here who can trace at least part of their family heritage back to the Southern Appalachians, especially West Virginia.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  15. #15
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Where the weak are killed and eaten.
    Posts
    6,217
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Patriotic fervor during WW I largely obliterated these vestiges of German immigrant culture.
    An aside:

    All four of my paternal great grandparents came to the USA from Europe in the late 1800's. I was always brought up assuming dad was 100% Polish. Two of my great grandparents had very Germanic surnames, and when I asked why I was told not to worry and I was 100% Polish. (Not the case at all, because my mom is about as mutt as you can get). After my grandmother died several years back we uncovered birth certificates of the four. All were born in Austria!

    Even though I did not grow up in Appalachia, just inner-City Detroit, I assume that was something broomed under the rug from around that time.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    An aside:

    All four of my paternal great grandparents came to the USA from Europe in the late 1800's. I was always brought up assuming dad was 100% Polish. Two of my great grandparents had very Germanic surnames, and when I asked why I was told not to worry and I was 100% Polish. (Not the case at all, because my mom is about as mutt as you can get). After my grandmother died several years back we uncovered birth certificates of the four. All were born in Austria!

    Even though I did not grow up in Appalachia, just inner-City Detroit, I assume that was something broomed under the rug from around that time.
    Up until WW I, Americans of German heritage were very proud of their heritage. In many large cities, especially around the Great Lakes, the Germans were the most established ethnic group, mostly because they had been here longer. Many of these cities had German language daily newspapers, social groups like turnervereins (gym clubs), and prominent businesses that proudly displayed their German heritage. The anti-German hysteria that accompanied the US entry into the war resulted in the disappearance of much of this. The institutions and businesses that survived Anglicized their names and hid their German heritage, never to retrieve them. The German-American Bank of Buffalo became Liberty Bank. The Buffalo Turnerverein became the Buffalo Turners. Many Lutheran schools closed, and those that did not stopped teaching German. The parochial schools in German parishes also ceased German instruction.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  17. #17
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Registered
    Feb 1998
    Location
    Greensburg, Kansas
    Posts
    2,954
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Up until WW I, Americans of German heritage were very proud of their heritage. In many large cities, especially around the Great Lakes, the Germans were the most established ethnic group, mostly because they had been here longer. Many of these cities had German language daily newspapers, social groups like turnervereins (gym clubs), and prominent businesses that proudly displayed their German heritage. The anti-German hysteria that accompanied the US entry into the war resulted in the disappearance of much of this. The institutions and businesses that survived Anglicized their names and hid their German heritage, never to retrieve them. The German-American Bank of Buffalo became Liberty Bank. The Buffalo Turnerverein became the Buffalo Turners. Many Lutheran schools closed, and those that did not stopped teaching German. The parochial schools in German parishes also ceased German instruction.
    While searching for some German ancestors, in the 1910 census they and neighbors listed the nationality/ancestry as "German". In the 1920 census, they were all "American"...with a few spelling changes. Love the folks out here who bitch about Hispanics keeping their culture and language, many saying that their german grandparents assimilated. Yeah, they assimilated because Germans in the Great War era were despised just as much as they despise Hispanics. A little history could enlighten.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    While searching for some German ancestors, in the 1910 census they and neighbors listed the nationality/ancestry as "German". In the 1920 census, they were all "American"...with a few spelling changes. Love the folks out here who bitch about Hispanics keeping their culture and language, many saying that their german grandparents assimilated. Yeah, they assimilated because Germans in the Great War era were despised just as much as they despise Hispanics. A little history could enlighten.
    Exactly this.

    All of the immigrant groups who came to this country in significant numbers attempted to hold onto their heritage as long as they could by settling close together, and you see that everywhere if you know where to look. The easiest remnants to spot are the historic roots of churches: Lutheran for Germans/Scanadnavians; Catholics for Irish, Italians, and Poles; Orthodox for Greeks and Russians, etc. The entire Catholic education system in this country, from parochial schools to universities was founded to preserve the Catholic religion and ethnic heritage of Germans and Irish Americans (and later, other immigrants). What people don't realize is that foreign language newspapers were common in the big cities through WW II, and some continued much later. Many legendary entertainers got their starts in the Yiddish theatre. There were Polish language radio shows in Buffalo into the 1980s at least. I'm sure that cities like Chicago and Milwaukee had similar radio programs.

    That's why Hispanics don't bother me. We've been down this road before, starting with the Germans and Irish in the mid 1800s. The Hispanics will make this country a little darker skinned; they've already added their food to our palates; and they'll add some of their language to the mix, but three generations out, Mexican/Guatemalan/Salvadoran/Puerto Rican-Americans will largely be indistinguishable in accent and attitude from "regular" Americans. In fact, you already see that in places where some Hispanic families have been in this country for multiple generations.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Mud Princess's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Upstate
    Posts
    4,837
    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    ...
    That's why Hispanics don't bother me. We've been down this road before, starting with the Germans and Irish in the mid 1800s. The Hispanics will make this country a little darker skinned; they've already added their food to our palates; and they'll add some of their language to the mix, but three generations out, Mexican/Guatemalan/Salvadoran/Puerto Rican-Americans will largely be indistinguishable in accent and attitude from "regular" Americans. In fact, you already see that in places where some Hispanic families have been in this country for multiple generations.
    Yes, yes, yes! I completely agree.

    And don't you think it's rather ironic that some people pin the "illegal immigrant" tag on Hispanics... yet, most Hispanics are descended from Native American populations! So, who is the true American?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    229
    Quote Originally posted by btrage View post
    Whenever I've driven through the hills of WV, it always feels like the most isolated and depressing of places. But that's an outsider's perspective.


    Well yes most of the southeat part of the US other than Alabama ,Florida and Georgia is depressing unless you like living in town or country. Also most of the southeast of the US was base on farming than manufacturing in the southwest or northeast part of the US thus it mostly towns and country do to the farming .

    If you into big cities move to the southwest or northeast part of the US .

  21. #21
    Cyburbian stroskey's avatar
    Registered
    Dec 2008
    Location
    the delta
    Posts
    1,201
    Does anyone have a link to more recent pictures of videos about this area? I'm enthralled by this area I know nothing about.
    I burned down the church to atone for my transgressions.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian
    Registered
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Ithaca, NY
    Posts
    45
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Some parts of upstate New York, mainly the Southern Tier, are technically and culturally part of Appalachia. You won't hear all-out Southern accents, but the accents of many in rural areas are much "twangier" than the standard nasal Western/Central NY accent. You won't see a lifestyle off the pages of the Foxfire series of books, aside from the hippie homesteaders and permaculturalists, perhaps. However, the cultural background and socioeconomic issues are still the same. Ethnic origins are largely Scots-Irish and Scottish Highlander, rather than the Italian, German and English you'll see elsewhere in rural Upstate NY. You'll hear about families that have been causing problems for local officials and law enforcement since the early 1800s. Among the top 20 Census tracts for percentage of residents with PhDs, six are in this county, but you wouldn't know it by a trip to the Walmart.

    Around these parts, there's some isolated pockets of Appalachian lifestyle poverty. In one town, public officials largely wrote off a large area for code enforcement, making it a "combat zone" of sorts. You'll see the same battered single wide mobile homes surrounded by the same kinds of collections of junked crap as you;ll see in an isolated West Virginia mountain holler. There's no support for zoning among long-time residents, and with the region's progressive proclivities, many just accept the mess - "Well, they have to live somewhere, and we have to be accepting of their lifestyle. They've been here longer than we have."



    On another note, I've always wondered why Detroit, Cleveland, Ashtabula and Pittsburgh experienced a large influx of workers from Appalachia during and after WWII, but not Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse. There were a lot of "[whatever]tucky" neighborhoods scattered around the Cleveland area, but not around Buffalo or its 'burbs.
    I've been reading through this thread and this is a fantastic post! Is that Buffalo Hill in Caroline? If so, it came up a few times in one of my Sociology courses. I had no idea that the town had actively written the area off though. Is there anything mre you can tell about the history of the area and how Buffalo Hill came to be what it is today? It really is a fascinating place that seems worlds apart from nearby Cayuga Heights.

  23. #23
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,565
    Blog entries
    3
    Quote Originally posted by Owego View post
    I've been reading through this thread and this is a fantastic post! Is that Buffalo Hill in Caroline? If so, it came up a few times in one of my Sociology courses. I had no idea that the town had actively written the area off though. Is there anything mre you can tell about the history of the area and how Buffalo Hill came to be what it is today? It really is a fascinating place that seems worlds apart from nearby Cayuga Heights.
    Indeed it is. A friend once drove me through there, and I was shocked. It was a scene I would expect to see in an isolated part of rural eastern Kentucky, not what is supposedly one of the most educated counties in the United States.

    Supposedly land in the Buffalo Hill area is owned by several families that are long established in the town. The names have appeared on police blotters for years. An Ithaca College professor made a documentary about that stretch of road, Dream Street on Buffalo Hill, but I haven't seen it, and it's very hard to find.
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
    Registered
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Jamestown, New York
    Posts
    1,684
    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Indeed it is. A friend once drove me through there, and I was shocked. It was a scene I would expect to see in an isolated part of rural eastern Kentucky, not what is supposedly one of the most educated counties in the United States.

    Supposedly land in the Buffalo Hill area is owned by several families that are long established in the town. The names have appeared on police blotters for years. An Ithaca College professor made a documentary about that stretch of road, Dream Street on Buffalo Hill, but I haven't seen it, and it's very hard to find.
    There are numerous places like this in the Southern Tier. In and around Jamestown, there's a place called Kabob (pronounced Kay'-bob) in an area called "South Stockton" that's about as inbred and backward a place as you'll find. Kabob/South Stockton gained notoriety about 6-7 years ago as the stomping grounds of escaped convict and cop-killer Buddy Phillips who eluded law enforcement for a couple of months with the assistance of his family and friends in that area. I'd sooner live in "the hood" in Jamestown than in that area, and I'm used to living amongst rednecks, but too many of those folks over there are different from most country people: unfriendly, untrustworthy, and dishonest at best.
    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. -- John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Midori's avatar
    Registered
    Apr 2013
    Location
    the Bible belt
    Posts
    751

    East Tennessee voice, chiming in

    Quote Originally posted by stroskey View post
    Does anyone have a link to more recent pictures of videos about this area? I'm enthralled by this area I know nothing about.
    This area, being Jonesboro/East Tennessee? I can drive out on my lunch break and get some for you this afternoon.

    OP: Your take on Greene County and the area is spot-on. I'd be interested in a more experienced planner's perspective on how to approach this area.

+ Reply to thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

More at Cyburbia

  1. Your thoughts on fur
    Friday Afternoon Club
    Replies: 13
    Last post: 29 Nov 2012, 10:32 AM
  2. Replies: 2
    Last post: 10 Jan 2009, 4:31 PM
  3. Thoughts on NYU RE
    Student Commons
    Replies: 6
    Last post: 24 Dec 2008, 1:31 PM
  4. Replies: 30
    Last post: 09 Dec 2008, 7:48 PM
  5. Replies: 49
    Last post: 24 Jan 2008, 11:16 PM