There’s a town in WV literally named “Odd,” and that’s just the beginning
West Virginia has a bunch of small settlements, spread all over. They all needed names, and many of them had very few residents to please.
The result? A slew of wild, wonderfully named towns crammed into every nook and cranny of the state.
Some of these towns have a clearly recorded history, while many others have been lost to folklore.
A few of the most unique West Virginia town names have unclear histories: Booger Hole, Hoo Hoo, Looneyville, Brohard, Peewee, Cucumber, Left Hand, Burnt House, Lego, Sassafrass, Kitchen and Scrabble
But for those town names we do know the stories behind, some of the histories are just as colorful as the names themselves!
Here are the 9 with the most interesting tales:
It is said the Post Master declared this town Pie because he just really liked pie— really.
Rumor has it that the settlement made a request for a post office, and the sender added a postscript saying, ‘‘We need a post office, that’s true.’’ Officials then named it True.
3. Jumping Branch
This unincorporated Summers County community was named by settlers who entered the area using a fallen log across a creek.
Nitro was born during World War 1, named after the term Nitro-Cellulose, the type of gunpowder that was going to be produced there. They also considered the name “Redwop,” powder spelled backwards.
5. Lost Creek
According to legend, Lost Creek got its name for the words “I am lost” carved into trees along a creek in this region.
It is said the citizens of Odd gathered to name their town and settled on the name because it was unusual.
Located on the border near Kentucky and Ohio, Kenova is a mixture of the state names Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.
This town in Wetzel County was named after Henry Church and his wife, the first settlers. It is said they lived to be 109 and 106, respectively.
9. Paw Paw
Ever heard of a fruit native to the Mountain State? Paw Paws are sometimes referred to as West Virginia’s banana, and this town in Morgan County was named for its overwhelming abundance of paw paw trees.
Other notable names:
Alloy: Originally known as Carbon, and then Boncar, this town was renamed in the 1930s for the giant Ferroalloys plant built there by Union Carbide.
Big Ugly: Named for the creek along which the community is settled, Big Ugly Creek. Its name has been a source of humor for many years, but the reasoning behind the creek’s name is uncertain.
Bulltown: This settlement in Braxton County was named for Captain Bull, an Indian chief who settled there in the mid-1700s with 5 other families. They were escaping warfare.
Cairo: The town’s earliest settlers named it after Cairo, Egypt, supposedly for its abundance of fertile land.
Eleanor: This community was named for Eleanor Roosevelt. It was established in 1934 under the New Deal Project, when President Roosevelt and his wife built 3 homestead communities in West Virginia. A total of 150 families selected for the Town of Eleanor were offered a chance for new life here.
Frazier’s Bottom: This rolling, low-lying area between the Kanawha River and a mountain was discovered by the Frazier family in the 1800s. A group of Fraziers, descendents of the original, still live there today.
Friendly: This small town was incorporated in the late 1800s and was likely named for Friend Williamson, who was the grandson of one of the first settlers.
Jane Lew: Incorporated in 1907, this town is named after Jane Lewis, the mother of Lewis Maxwell, a Congressman who founded the town.
Kermit: This Mingo County town was named for Theodore Roosevelt’s son, Kermit Roosevelt, in 1909.
Hurricane: A group of surveyors commissioned by George Washington visited the site in 1774. The said the land looked like it had been struck by hurricane because of several trees at the mouth of a creek bent in the same direction. There are also towns named Cyclone and Tornado.
Man: This town in Logan was named after Ulysses Hinchman, a representative of the state in the 1860s.
Matoaka: This town of about 600 residents in Mercer County was named after Pocahontas, daughter of Chief Powhatan. She was sometimes referred to as Matoaka, which was her “sacred” name.
Red House: This community was named for a house-sized red rock on a hill overlooking the town.
Rock: Originally named “The Rock,” Rock was named for a 100-foot high rock cliff near the town on the Bluestone River.
Ronceverte: The word is French for Greenbrier, which is fitting for this town that’s snuggled into the Greenbrier River’s narrow valley.
Terra Alta: This community, perched at an altitude of more than 2,500 feet, is latin for “high land.”
Triadelphia: Triadelphia is Greek for “3 brothers,” who donated the land for this town in the 1820s.
War: This McDowell County town is named for the slew of Native American wars that happened in the area.
White Sulphur Springs: This town was named for nearby mineral springs. The high sulfur content leaves white deposits on everything the springs flow over.
This post was last updated on July 17, 2020