Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Profile: Bethany, West Virginia

So, I've been busy lately - it has paid off, mind you - I was just offered a professorship at the University of Virginia at Wise's Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, which is pretty awesome, and I have a solo art show coming up in Knoxville (more on that later), but the crux of my lax reporting has really lain with my inability to be imaginative - I have, honestly, had trouble settling on subjects to write on. I know, I know - no excuse. But then I thought, dang it Eric, just keep it simple - choose a theme and just keep to it.

Alright then, I thought, what should I write on? Magic? Puppies? Booze? Then it came to me . . . I could write about a different town once a week, set up a bank of links, dig up events, festivals, art, the whole nine yards. Dig? Well then, where to start, where to start - I decided to pick a town randomly for my first one - the tiny (read as less than a 1,000 citizens) town of Bethany, located in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia.

Why Bethany, you're asking? I mean, I've never been to Bethany, it being on the opposite end of West Virginny from where I grew up, and honestly I don't come into this knowing much at all about the place. Well, the fact that little Bethany is home to the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of West Virginia and jeepers if that's a draw I simply couldn't turn down.

So, you're wondering what I learned? Um, not tons (at least that isn't more about the college than the municipality). None the less, let me drop you some jonx:

First, the soundtrack - you're going to want to listen to some tunes while becoming a Bethany expert. I mean, unless you're anti-music. In which case you shouldn't listen to Vigilant, a garage band straight outta' Bethany. Pop rock with just enough angst and paprika to give it a twang. Like a young OkGO with faint undertones of reggae and bluegrass (whether they're intentional or not, hell, I dunno). Song you'll probably play twice? "Legalism."

Bethany College, Circa 1904
(Image from Wikipedia)

Bethany College: Any mention of Bethany, from what I can tell, is more than likely to start with ol' BC. It received its charter back in 1840, though it evolved from an even earlier seminary, and it is a beautiful little campus - and its near 900 students nearly double the size of the town. You want the virtual tour? Yeah, of course you do - so click here already. There is quite a bit of content there, so you're going to want to take your time and stuff.

Oh, and hell yeah, GO BISONS!

Horses - you like'm? Bethany has'm. Check out the Peace Point Equestrian Center.

The Disciples of Christ of West Virginia have a particularly long relationship with Bethany - they're kinda' why it is on the map - consider this.

You want ghosts, don't you? Yes you do, you jerks - quit making fun of me! You need them - you're addicted to post - 10PM Discovery and SciFi "paranormal investigations" shows. Rumor is that Bethany has its share - consider: 1 and 2

Finally, you want images. I know, I know - if you just wanted to "read" you wouldn't be on the "internet." Well, I got some great stuff for you - dig on . . . .

A Tour of Bethany, West Virginia: The Home of the Campbell Legacy

The Digital Library of Appalachia

A Photo Survey of Bethany

. . . and dare I forget . . .

Penny Postcards From West Virginia
(see "Brook County")

Alright, alright. Not too bad, not bad at all. A definite decent first try. Two things though, both a product of this much-touted "interactivity" for which this "internet" is known. First, if you know something we need to know about Bethany, including relevant websites, post'm here - I'll try to get them amended to the post. Second, there are a helluva' lot of towns in Appalachia, not to mention a helluva' lot of subregions - I'm gonna' need some recommendations. Drop me some knowledge and you might get a prize - like, your name written on the INTERNET!!!! Woot! Regardless, do it too it, and plan on seeing another post in this series next week - and stuff.


Anonymous said...

Oh, excellent! and GHOSTS! (adds this tiny little town to mental list of places to drop by sometime)

May I suggest a next location for your blog-series?
It was built as a "model town," perhaps the first coal camp to be built up on the mountain away from the mines, with attention to the living conditions of the workers. Just a nifty anomaly in the area. If you're interested in such things. :-)

Anonymous said...

>>>>>its near 900 students nearly double the size of the town.

Actually, the census figure of around 1,100 includes the 800 or so students. It's a REALLY small town.

Anonymous said...

Funny. I'm brand new to your site and came across this piece about Bethany. I had a good friend in college whose dad was the mayor and police chief of Bethany, probably still is, and went there a few times to visit. What a great little place. And Bethany College looked really nice. Tons of great hiking and biking in the hills around town.

Anonymous said...

I went to Bethany, the mayor was a guy named Sven, good guy. There was no police chief...actually, there isnt much law around there. Hell of a little town if you want to disappear for a few years though.

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