Photo by Thomas E Bush IV

A Companion Exhibit to Episode 20 of the Beaver County History Podcast

This special online companion exhibit explores the Appalachian heritage of Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  We consider Beaver County’s unique history, culture, and linguistic connections to Appalachia, including stereotypes and realities shaping how we think about class, race, and cultural identity within the greater Appalachian Region.

Do you think of Beaver County as Appalachia?

During the fall of 2022 we conducted a reader-response poll around this question on “Beaver County, Past, Present, Future,” a Facebook group dedicated to local history. Most people agreed that Beaver County was a part of Appalachia–at least in some way.  Here are some of the responses:

"Yes, it is in fact officially part of Appalachia."
D. Miller
"My grandfather always said Pennsyltucky."
J. Keifer
"My mom used to call it Pennsyltucky, too!"
K. Pittman
"Yes, we are on the western edge of the northern Appalachian region."
D. Barrett
"We were also called Westsylvanians in the 1700s."
L. Doutt
"Yes I do because the foothills in our locale appear to list into the Appalachian area both to the east and south."
K. Rader
"Yes, I say I'm a Northern hillbilly."
A. Grossglass Shamp
"Yes! We a part of Appalachia more and more every day!"
M. K. Ross
"Culturally and geographically we are truly united in these mountains."
G. Moran
"Yes, it's just that we don't have jinsang."
M. Zirot
"I live in Beaver County and I have jinsang right over the hill from my house."
M. Holbrook
"Of course! Foothills of the Appalachians."
M. Jones
"The western border of the Appalachian mountain range dwindles down here in Beaver County. I learned in grade-school geography (Beaver Falls) in the 1940s that we were part of Appalachia, and that our multitudes of hills and rivers provide clear evidence of that fact."
E. Asche Douglas
"Despite being Appalachia, we have the geographic and cultural mitigation of being a suburb to the great and cosmopolitan 'Paris of Appalachia' - Pittsburgh. Our state of Pennsylvania has more area (square miles) within the officially sanctioned Appalachia than any state. That plus encompassing the biggest city (Pittsburgh) in Appalachia - probably means there are more PA Appalachians than any other state."
R. Csiszar
"No. My family moved from South Beaver Township in 1962. We relocated to New Market, VA in the northern Shenandoah Valley. I can tell you it was culture shock for us. That part of VA was definitely Appalachia - geography, the people, the pace of everyday life. Only lived there for 18 months. We moved to Winchester in early 1964 & it was more refined. Some Appalachia elements in the rural areas, but not like New Market, which felt like we had been transported back to the 19th century. I'm not trying to be confrontational or argumentative on the question. Just giving you my perspective as one who has lived in two very different places that are located in the region known as Appalachia. If I were given a vote, I would remove the metro area of Pittsburgh from the region, including Beaver County."
M. McCoy
"Grew up in Beaver and went to college in Indiana, PA. Never crossed my mind then or now that we (Beaver County) were part of the Appalachias as the Appalachian Trail is much further east and travels through Allentown and Harrisburg area. The Allegheny Mountains are nearby us and part of Appalachia but maps I view of the Allegheny Mountains are only as far west in PA in the areas of State College, Altoona, Johnstown and Bedford. Not reaching as far west to Beaver County. I do agree with many comments of Appalachia roots, culture, language etc. has a great influence on those of us from or still live in Beaver County. Open to any different geographical interpretations however."
S. Rhodes

These responses have been edited for clarity and to fit this publication.