600 meters above sea level
200 inhabitants (as per 1.1.2016)
Settled on the right side of the Grosstal, the village is located on the alluvial fan of the Diesbach. The largest part of the municipal area is located in the Freiberg Kärpf (the oldest game preserve of Switzerland).
The name Beswando appears in a document dated 1240. The person name Benetto, a short form of Baturîh or Batufrid is probably included in the first part of the word. The term "Batu" means fight. But perhaps the term goes back on a Gallic word for birch.
From the 16th to the 18th century, Diesbach, Hätzingen and Haslen were affiliated to the Wahltagwen Betschwanden. In 1701, it counted a total of 222 Protestant citizens.
First Betschwanden belonged to the church in Glarus. The church in Betschwanden was built in the 14th century in the Romanesque style and was converted several times. In 1779-80 it was protected against flood, in 1915 art nouveau and neo-Baroque elements were added and in 1975-77 the church was restored and archaeologically recorded. Together with Hätzingen, Diesbach, Rüti and the hamlet Adlenbach (until 1868), Betschwanden formed since 1528 a Protestant parish, in which among others Fridolin Brunner (a follower of Zwingli and reformer of Glarus) from 1532 until 1555 and the historian and social reformer Gottfried Heer from 1866 until 1906 acted. Also Braunwald belonged to Betschwanden until 1942.
Until the 19th century, Agriculture and alpine farming was the main source of income. The Alp Vorder Sand, today part of the municipal area of Linthal, was already before 1800 a property of the Tagwen Betschwanden. In 1478 it was reported that a church bell from Betschwanden was sold to purchase food. 1510, it was documented that the forest on the Saasberg had been declared as an avalanche forest. This area still bears the name "im Baa" (avalanche forest). In 1612, the villagers incorporated a fountain cooperative. They had found a source in the Gross-Schrähe, in the avalanche forest, where still today the water chamber is located, which collects the water for the upper village fountain. In 1692, the population of Betschwanden counted a total of 123 people. The fountain cooperative later ceded their rights and obligations to the Tagwen. In 1855, the villagers moved a stone fountain trough from Riedern to Betschwanden. In 1895, the Tagwen requested for the village water supply water from the sources in the Obermarglen from the owning company W. Schuler in Rüti.
The mill on the Diesbach, built 1778, has become the guest house of the parish. There is also an old mill stone which was excavated in mid-20th century in Diesbach. A spinning mill, opened 1843, turned in 1910 into a warehouse, which again turned into a textile chemical plant 1910. Four years earlier, a regional emergency slaughter house was opened. In 1879, Betschwanden was connected to the network of the Nordostbahn (northeastern railway). In 1989, a main street bypass changed the villagescape around the church. At that time, two-thirds of the labor force were commuters. Around 1850, 254 people were registered in the village, 1950 30 people more and in 1990 the number dropped to just under 150.
In 1595, the first school activities of a clergy in the church parish of Betschwanden is documented, this was priest Ludwig Osenbrey. In 1727, the parish district got a school. In a room of the now abandoned wooden rectory next to the church, the priest taught the children how to read and write. Around 1800, there were 150-160 children eligible for school teaching in Rüti, Betschwanden, Dornhaus and Diesbach, but only 30-40 of them went regularly to the school. In 1844, the community built an own schoolhouse. After Diesbach has built its own schoolhouse in 1886, the two communities went until 1962 separate ways. One of the most famous graduates of the Betschwanden school and confirmee of pastor Gottfried Heer was Brigadier Jacques Wichser (1888-1980). In 1962, the two communities Beschwanden and Diesbach decided to relocate the lower and higher primary school to Diesbach. The graduating classes from Luchsingen to Rüti were taught in Betschwanden. But in 2001 the school was forced to close its doors due to constantly declining number of students. Betschwanden was the first municipality in the canton of Glarus without schooling.
In the Swiss avalanche winter of 1951, an accident happened also in Betschwanden. On January 20, an avalanche broke out along the length of the Kneugrathanges. Not only seven stables and two holiday houses were destroyed, but also the life of the brothers Heinrich and Rudolf Zweifel were snuffed out. After this, the village installed appropriate avalanche protections.
In 2011, the community structure of canton Glarus was reorganized and Betschwanden became part of the new administrative community Glarus Süd.
Translation of the official website of Betschwanden
Website of the Village Association
The Protestant Gothic Church of Betschwanden (originally built in the Romanesque style about 1370)
The cemetery of Betschwanden
Family Names from Betschwanden