Poteau River

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The Poteau River near Panama, Oklahoma
Wister Lake and Dam on the Poteau River in Le Flore County, Oklahoma

The Poteau River is a 141-mile-long (227 km)[1] river in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma and is the only river in Oklahoma that flows north.[2] Poteau is the French word for "post" and it is believed the river was named because French explorers used a post or stake to mark the mouth of the river.[3] The city of Poteau, Oklahoma took its name from the river.[4] The Poteau River converges with the Arkansas River at Belle Point at Fort Smith, Arkansas, where it serves as a border between the two states for a short distance.


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed June 3, 2011
  2. ^ Corps Lakes Gateway: Oklahoma - Wister Lake
  3. ^ Chronicles of Oklahoma
  4. ^ "History". City of Poteau, Oklahoma. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 

Coordinates: 35°23′15″N 94°26′03″W / 35.38750°N 94.43417°W / 35.38750; -94.43417 (Poteau River)