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977 meters above sea level

651 inhabitants (as per 1.1.2016)

Elm ca. 1900
Elm ca. 1910
The Suwarof House in Elm
Landslide of Elm 1881
Elm and the landslide area in 1910
Elm 2014
The Suwarof House 2016
The Zentner House 2016
The former Parsonage 2016
The "Grosshaus" 2016
Typical timber house in Elm 2016
The Cemetery of Elm 2016
The memorial tablet of the landslide
Interior with pipe organ Elm
Glass plates in the Church
Altar Church Elm
Church of Elm 2016
General Suwarof Memorial
Mineral water plant in Elm
View from the Wichlen



The highest valley of the Canton (982 m asl) comprises the hamlets of Sulzbach, Schwändi, Müsli, Untertal, Vogelsang, Töniberg, Obmoos, Steinibach and Wald. It is the starting point for several smaller alpine passes as well as the Panixer pass and offers a panoramic view of the groups of the Hausstock, Vorab and the Sardona. Through a rock window on the big Tschingelhorn, the sun (and every 19 years of the full moon, so in 2001) appears twice a year directly on the church tower of Elm.


Not far from it, on the Sandgasse, stood a living-house of possibly Saxon-Habsburg officials. In any case, the wall part of the house built in 1557 dates back to the 13th or early 14th century. For the first time the place was called in the Säckinger Urbar. The Elmer family, on the other hand, is already documented in 1289 in a debt of the Glarus peasants against Rudolf von Hofstätter in Walenstadt. It was probably identical with that of the Ulm from the Zurich, Schaffhausen, and southern German regions. Connections to the area north of the Lake of Constance had also Ritter Ludwig von Stadion, the Habsburgic Vogt to Glarus. In 1344, he concluded a settlement between the Tagwenleuten (municipal councilors) of Mollis and those of Elm concerning the Alp Wichlen. In this dispute was about so-called Weiderechte (grazing rights) at the Panixerpass, which has become more and more important in terms of economics (already in the Habsburg Urbar it is called the Roman name Vepch); but the conflict is primarily to be seen within the framework of a change of rule, which can be observed in the entire inner-Swiss region in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. That this was a lengthy process shows for example the elevation to the nobility of a Friedrich Jakob Zentner from the Sern Valley around 1460. He distinguished himself under the Habsburg Emperor Frederick III. Zentner's coat of arms resembled that of the Elmer family (black Capricorn over a red fox, later a roe deer). It was also a prototype for a community crest, which was later forgotten. Moreover, there are references to the immigration of Walsers into the rear Sern Valley, which took place first in the 13th and then in the 15th and 16th century. Thus the name Jetz of Walsian origin is found on the Panixerweg (it means a mowerable grass spot). In addition, the Rhyner's, bearers of the now most common family name in Elm, were originally Walser. Finally, there are other Romanesque alp and farmland names such as "Camperdun" or "Ramin". In the early modern period, Elm was a separate Tagwen.


From 1273 Elm belonged to the Church of Matt. In around the middle of the fifteenth century two chapels are proven, those of St. Peter in Hintersteinibach and the other of St. Wendel near Schwändi. In 1493, the papal permission was granted to build an Elmer branch church, but as early as 1528 the Reformation was introduced with an iconoclasm. In 1594 it came to the detachment from the church of Matt. Baptism, marriage and death registers (in this sequence) have been conducted since 1595, 1618 and 1670.


Alp farming (sheep farming) has already been proven for around the year 1000, about which an alp museum in Empächli informs. About cultivation of grain in the Middle Ages, a tithe obligation in the Hintersteinibach and a mill in the Obmoos refers to. In addition, there were salt transportation across the Foopass during the time of the Reformation confusion. In the 17th century, the Alpsömmerung (summer pasture) of bovine cattle for the cattle export increased to Upper Italy (the so-called Welschlandhandel), which reached its peak in 1750 in this region. In 1730, 516 persons lived in the village, in 1789 already 765. A so-called Sust (guesthouse) was, for example, the Grosshaus built in 1585/86 with its renaissance room. In the first half of the eighteenth century, the cotton spinning mill became a line of business for homework.


The Suworowhaus (renovated in 1671, expanded in 1772) owes its name to an overnight stay of the Russian general, before he crossed the Panixer pass with his army on October 5, 1799. In the same year, the Zentnerhaus was erected. It was not until 1840 that the municipality was connected to the Grosstal (Main Valley) by a road. 1850, 1'051 persons were registered in the village. During this period, the New Elm settlement in the United States was also established by emigrants from Elm.


In 1861 intensive mining of slate started at the Tschingelberg, which was converted into writing tablets and pencils. Improper digging led to the landslide on September 11, 1881, which buried 114 people, 83 buildings and 90 hectares of land in three shots and destroyed as well the slate mine. In 1927 the slate industry had to be discontinued. After all, until 1985 a single-man business produced plates of slate for card games (now the slate museum). Shortly after the landslide, Elmer farmers had founded one of the first cattle breeding cooperatives in Switzerland.

Already in 1595 the village pastor taught the local children. Since the middle of the 18th century there exists a school in the village and since 1843 a school house.


As early as 1547, the Wichlenbad was mentioned, whose source of sulfur was used up to its burying in 1762. In 1892 a ferruginous water was discovered in the Gschwend. In 1896, the Verkehrsverein (tourist office) Sernftal was founded. The Elm SPA house. opened in 1898, flourished before 1914. Today, it is the old-age home of the Kleintaler municipalities. Elm built a power plant, not least for the operation of the Elm SPA house. Founded in 1929, the Mineralquellen Elm AG (the local mineral water production plant) is still the only industrial site in Elm. It was taken over by Pomdor AG in 1999.


The tourist development of the ski area at Schabell since 1973, at Pleus since 1982 and the use of the Alp Wichlen from 1978 as a training camp for army tanks brought economic growth. The Elm sports arenas with a gondola lift, a six-seater and a two-seater chairlift and several ski lifts, sledge runs and hiking trails offer 90 employees work in the winter season. This involved the construction of a bypass road and from 1971 to 1999 a total rural engineering with cost of 56 million Swiss francs for alpine access roads, etc. But a project for a Panixerpasstunnel was not implemented. Immense intangible and material costs in the community grew everywhere after natural catastrophes, such as in 1840 by a landslide at Hintersteinibach, but also after the avalanche winters of 1935, 1940 and 1999, which resulted in damages of almost five million francs.


Elm received an award from the Council of Europe in 1976 for the preservation of the village image, which is dominated by its wooden houses and in 1981 Elm received the Wakker Prize. Particularly noteworthy buildings are the parsonage of 1808, but also the Zwicky house (built in 1595) and the house in the Vorderau (16th century). In the 1960s and 1970s a modern infrastructure for school, sports, community administration and cultural purposes was created. Architectural interventions outside the protection zones are assessed by the foundation "Pro Elm". With an agricultural area of ​​4'600 hectares in 1990, 40% of the workforce was employed in the first (agricultural) and third (service) sectors. Today, the population of Elm counts about 650 persons. On April 23, 1988, no less than 4'000 persons celebrated the double Olympian victory of Calgary Skier Vreni Schneider.

Translation of the official website of Elm.

The Church of Elm

(built 1493-1495)

The cemetery of Elm

Interior of the Church of Elm

Family Names from Elm













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