Mountains, Fat and Lean

Madison County maps read like menus. In looking at a 1938 highway map I spotted towns named Grapevine and Walnut, mountains named Sugar Loaf, Huckleberry, and Potato Gap, and a feature with the rather abrupt name of Lick Rock. But it’s these two mountains, at opposite ends of the county and with seemingly contradictory names, that really distinguish the place:


The North Carolina Gazetteer doesn’t list an origin for either name. I think we can guess where “Big Butt” came from, but what could be the origin of “Nofat”? Was there an early movement of strict mountain dieters who have been otherwise lost to history? Or is it just a particularly skinny peak?

4 thoughts on “Mountains, Fat and Lean”

  1. While flipping through the book “Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains,” I stumbled across a reference to a pair of neighboring Madison County towns that have the names Trust and Luck. While they are perhaps not as dramatic as Nofat Mountain and Big Butt, I couldn’t help thinking that it would be pretty nifty to be able to tell people that you live “in Luck” or “on the road to Trust.”

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