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Swiss Colony featured at TN State Museum

Posted on Thursday, November 28, 2019 at 10:17 am

Tennessee State Museum explores the rich and diverse history of food in Tennessee, including Grundy County
The Tennessee State Museum explores the rich and diverse history of Tennessee’s food through a new exhibition, Let’s Eat! Origins and Evolutions of Tennessee Food, open now through February 2, 2020, at the Museum’s Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park location, in Nashville.
Among the many stories told in the exhibition through artifacts, images, interactive activities and videos, is the story of the Swiss Colony in Gruetli-Laager. In 1869 German speaking Swiss immigrants established a community in Grundy County called Gruetli. Drawn by promotions that contrasted the poor economic and social conditions of Europe with the inexpensive and fertile soil available in the United States, many were disappointed when they first viewed the isolated and wooded land reserved for their community. Still by 1880, 227 Swiss immigrants had made Grundy County their home. Most settlers farmed grains and ran dairies. Many farms practiced cheese-making and made Swiss Cheese. School lessons and church services were conducted in their native German until the United States declared war on Germany during WWI. In 1980 the community incorporated with the nearby town of Laager to become Gruetli-Laager.
The display is complemented by photos of the Suter Family farm from 1932 and Rose Marie Stampfli using a Cheese Press in the 1960s.