Apr 16, 2012 08:58 AM WV State of Mind
Uncover West Virginia's best-kept secrets
In a Pickle
Last week, I was driving back to Morgantown from Spencer via Weston when I stumbled across something that made me bring my car to a screeching halt—the unincorporated community of Pickle Street. Now, for those of you who often travel U.S. Route 33 in Lewis County, the name Pickle Street may not faze you. But I was tickled. The community wasn’t named Pickle, which would be amusing in its own right, but Pickle Street. The sign is not located at a street intersection, either. I did what any innocent traveler would do. I stopped, took a picture, and then I Googled it.
Here’s what Wikipedia says: “Pickle Street is an unincorporated community in Lewis County, West Virginia, United States, on U.S. Route 33 along Leading Creek. It is mostly a residential area, but it has an auction house. At a general store near Pickle Street, but before it was established, asking for pickles was a code for whiskey.”
Who knew? Give me a pickle meant give me whiskey. If there was ever a doubt, West Virginians sure are ingenious.
This got me thinking about other towns that have caused me to sharply pull over to the side of the road, risking life and limb, to take a photo of signs announcing clever names. There’s Cucumber, West Virginia—it has the distinction of being the only town named Cucumber in the world. There’s Big Ugly. War. Looneyville. HooHoo. Needmore. Thursday. And even a community named Odd.
I grew up down the Elk River from End of the World, Booger Hole, and Twist and Chute. I’ve also lived in Pinch, Big Chimney, Duck, and Big Otter. And the funny thing is (with the exception of Booger Hole, which still makes the hair on my arms stand up), I never thought that those town and community names were…well…odd.