It would be almost impossible to compile all of the strange place names in the state, but here’s a list of some of our favorites:
Booger Hole has an interesting story to go along with its name. This holler in Clay County was the location of around a dozen mysterious deaths and disappearances between 1897 and 1917, according to West Virginia Haunts and Legends. After the death of 23-year-old Preston Tanner, residents of Booger Hole formed the Clay County Mob to find justice for those who were murdered. Outsiders tended to avoid the town after that. Clips of newspaper articles from 1917 on the West Virginia Haunts and Legends website read “Clay County Citizens Formed ‘Mob’ To Clean Out Lawless ‘Booger Hole’.”
Currently, Booger Hole is a more peaceful community. West Virginia Encyclopedia cited that one version of how Booger Hole got its name is that an old stone mason who lived at the mouth of the valley grew tired of the violence and moved. When asked why he was leaving, he said derisively that he was ‘‘leaving booger hole.’’
The name of this unincorporated community in Monroe County might have been derived from the French name Boisseau. Regardless, it has evolved into Bozoo; according to “A Guide to Pronunciation of Place Names in West Virginia” from 1981, the community is pronounced bohz-ZOO. Bozoo has a population of just under 700 people.
This census-designated place in Wyoming County was named for a businessman in the logging industry, Bud Adams. Bud has between 400 and 500 residents. One interesting fact about the community is that historically, the area surrounding it has a much more significant earthquake activity than the rest of the state. Best Places said that the median income of Bud is only $15,515, but the cost of living is an estimated 26.5% lower than the state average.
Cucumber is a census-designated place in McDowell County with fewer than 100 residents. The name is derived from the nearby Cucumber Creek or cucumber trees that grow nearby. Within Cucumber, there is a road called Pickle Street.
While there is a Pickle Street in Cucumber, Monroe County, Pickle Street is also an unincorporated community, or hamlet, in Lewis County. There are several obscure theories of how the hamlet got its unusual name, but none are definitive. Pickle Street is along Route 33 between Glenville and Weston.
On its own, the name of this Pocahontas County town sounds unimportant, but the place was actually named for one of the final battles of the Civil War. The Battle of Droop Mountain, which is considered the last significant battle of the Civil War, took place just three miles away in what is now Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park on Nov. 6, 1863. The Union was victorious and took a large amount of ammunition and prisoners, according to American Battlefield Trust.
As of 2020, Droop had 111 residents. Reenactments of the Battle of Droop Mountain are still put on at the nearby state park.
HooHoo is an unincorporated community in Raleigh County. In the past, the community has chosen to not participate in the U.S. Census, according to Roadside Thoughts, so population information for the community is not available. There is also a Hoo Hoo Holler Road in Raleigh County, but it is in the nearby town, Lester.
Jumbo is an unincorporated community in Webster County. While there is very little information on Jumbo, it does not live up to its name in size. While there is a Jumbo School, it technically has a Webster Springs address.
The community of Left Hand is in Roane County along Route 36. It was allegedly named after the nearby Lefthand Run Creek. Left Hand does have an active post office, and according to WV Explorer, the area near Left Hand has several natural bridges.
This Ritchie County community quite literally turned a Mole Hill into a Mountain. Prior to 1949, the community along Route 74 and the Hughes River was known as Mole Hill. According to an archived newspaper, a rebranding effort changed the town’s name to Mountain with hopes of increased tourism to the area. While the attempt was ultimately unsuccessful, the town retained the name Mountain. An archived Parkserburg News story from 1999 said, “this Ritchie County hamlet had a unique and truly memorable name—Mole Hill—and lost that name to what some would call a bad joke.”
West Virginia also has a community called Coal Mountain which is located in Wyoming County.
The rural hamlet in Raleigh County, Odd, has no major landmarks other than a post office. The Odd Post Office sign makes an interesting photo opportunity. While Odd itself is pretty remote, Odd Road passes underneath Interstate 77 and spans about 13 miles.
Odd is also known for being home to the Whitaker family, who are known as the “most famous inbred family.” A documentary book was written about them in 2004, and they became even more well known when Mark Laita posted videos of them you Youtube. “There is no way I would be able to confirm that the Whitaker parents were related, but given that this does happen in this part of the country and the Whitakers are the most extreme case I’ve seen,” Laita wrote.
This unincorporated community in Doddridge County seems to live up to its name, with little inside its limits or in its history.
Paw Paw is a Morgan County town with a population of around 400. It is named after the pawpaw tree, which bears fruit that is something like a cross between a mango and a banana. The main attraction for the town is the Paw Paw Tunnel, which spans six miles underground and is considered an engineering marvel and is part of the reason that Cumberland, Maryland became an economic success.
This tasty-sounding community in Mingo County is on U.S. Route 52 along Pigeon Creek. The Devil Anse ATV Resort is near Pie as well as several lodging options, including the Hillbilly Heaven Campground. Thacker Fork is also near Pie, so all it’s missing is a plate and some ice cream.
Poca got its name from the Pocatalico River which flows into the Kanawha River in Poca. This small town in Putman County has made the most of its unusual name by adding the most fitting mascot to its high school—the Dots. The Poca Dot looks similar to a large, red hockey puck that would eat you if you got too close.
Scary is an unincorporated community in Putnam County, West Virginia. The city dons the name of Scary Creek, which runs through it, and was the site of the Battle of Scary Creek, which was one of the earliest battles fought during the Civil War. According to the West Virginia Encyclopedia, it was fought on July 17, 1861, and lasted for about five hours. During the battle, Col. George S. Patton, grandfather of Gen. George S. Patton of World War II was seriously founded and Capt. Albert Gallatin Jenkins led the Confederates to victory.
Shock is an unincorporated community in Gilmer County named after the Shock family. West Virginia University has a collection of glass plate negatives of photographs taken by Uriah C. Shock between 1890 and 1915 documenting life in Helvetia, Randolph County, a community of German-speaking Swiss immigrants.
Big Ugly is not exactly a town or community but is worth making the list because its name is one of West Virginia’s weirdest. Both a creek and wildlife management area, Big Ugly is located in Lincoln County. No one is sure how it got such an unfortunate name, but some theories say it was named for a particularly ugly settler or for its crooked shape. Big Ugly Creek is not to be confused with Big Creek, which is also in Lincoln County.