West Virginia’s odd town names can be found all over the state. The landscape in West Virginia isn’t the only thing that’s wild and wonderful. Just pay attention to the road signs as you whiz past on winding country roads, and you’ll notice a certain peculiarity—West Virginia towns have some strange names. From capitals of other countries to ordinary phrases and insults, towns in West Virginia are unparalleled in their ability to make a name for themselves out of, well, anything.
Legend says the rugged, difficult-to-clear ground was called “ugly” by railroad surveyors. It’s guaranteed to make any title hilarious—just look at the Big Ugly Community Center. If you want to visit, go to Boone or Lincoln County and look for Big Ugly Creek.
No one knows whether this McDowell County mining community got its name from nearby Cucumber Creek or the cucumber trees in the area. Nevertheless, it holds the distinction of being the only Cucumber in the United States.
What could be taken for some sort of a digestive-health medication is actually the name of a town in Braxton County. Gassaway is named for Henry Gassaway Davis, the 1904 Democratic Party Vice President nominee. The town was created because of its perfect location at the end of two Coal and Coke Railway lines.
No, it’s not a misprint: Pickle Street is an unincorporated community in Lewis County. The name comes from a general store nearby, where asking for a “pickle” was
code for whiskey.
Hard Scrabble, Hard Scrabble Town, and Hardscrabble are all names this Berkeley County community has gone by in the past. While there’s no connection to the famous board game, you can still walk through history here. Scrabble was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
Nicknamed “West Virginia’s most southern city,” War takes after nearby War Creek, which was named for the numerous Indian wars that occurred in the area. Thankfully, the town is peaceful now.