Talk:Potomac River

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Picture[edit]

The picture, aside from being too large, looks like it was taken from Olmstead Island at Great Falls, MD. is just outside of DC, so it would be in the lower portion.

Parsing words[edit]

The sentence

"The entire river is considered part of the state of Maryland, which has playing an interesting part throughout history."

doesn't parse. I'm not sure what meaning is intended, so I can't edit it. Is it Maryland that plays an interesting part throughout the history of the river, or the river throughout that of Maryland, or is it the fact that the entire river is part of Maryland that has played a role in the history of the U.S? - Molinari 22:07 11 Jul 2003 (UTC)

It is the fact that the entire river is part of Maryland that has played an interesting role in the history of Maryland and Virginia. see http://www.virginiaplaces.org/boundaries/mdboundary.html

Name?[edit]

Resolved

Where did the Potomac river get its name?

I've added a paragraph about the river's name. (Henryhartley 13:58, Oct 11, 2004 (UTC))
Potamus is an anglicization of the Ancient Greek potamos (ποταμός) meaning river or stream; it appears in the name: Mesopotamia and hippopotamus (which means horse of the river). So potomac is probably derived from this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.255.155.134 (talk) 21:00, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I've heard about this folk etymology before. If you search two languages hard enough, you will find similar words. Unless there are regular correspondences (like those in the branches of the Indo-European family) then that similarity is just coincidence, especially if the two languages are geographically separated. Consider that the original spelling/pronunciation was "Patawomeke". It isn't exactly similar to the Greek "potamos", is it? Titus III (talk) 23:35, 26 August 2013 (UTC)
I agree. It is Greek, not American-Indian. English etymology is as irrelevant as Indian etymology. The fact that it is the river in Washington, DC, the capitol of a nation based on Greco-Roman laws and culture is proof enough. I hate when they take facts that have been taught for generations, and try to give credit to other groups for the sake of liberalism and equality. The Potomac being an Indian word is as ridiculous as Africans inventing peanut butter...Presidentbalut (talk) 02:46, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
The river had its name long before the selection of the site for Washington, D.C. -- Caponer (talk) 01:01, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
In support of your version as the only version, you cite:
  • an unsigned term paper that gives far more space to the version you are removing
  • an entry in wiktionary.org that also gives both versions (and user created/edited sites are not reliable sources)
  • Finally, you add this lovely piece which does not support your claim in any way.
Granted, the sources you removed aren't much better. That said, you have provided poor sources that support both origins, but selected one for no identifiable reason.
Encyclopedia Britannica says, "The river’s name derives from “Patawomeck,” as it was recorded by the colonist John Smith in 1608; its origin and meaning are unknown." I'm replacing the current section with that information and that source. Any additions/changes to this should cite a reliable source. Any removal must indicate how Britannica is not a reliable source. Thanks. - SummerPhD (talk) 04:08, 15 April 2014 (UTC)
I see your change has already been corrected and expands upon mine considerably, with reliable sources. I consider the issue resolved. - SummerPhD (talk) 04:13, 15 April 2014 (UTC)

length[edit]

The Potomac river doesn't go through Morgantown, West Virginia, the Monongahela does.

Not only that but it starts at about 823 m elevation (Fairfax Stone, WV), not 396 m. It's length is about 383 miles which is significantly longer than the 300 miles listed. And what does it mean to say that "11 km² of water enters the estuary"? Shouldn't it be a volume? Unless that's supposed to be the drainage area of the basin but that number is more like 38,000 km². I'll check my facts and update the page unless someone cares to defend those numbers. Henryhartley 22:27, Mar 23, 2005 (UTC)

Bridge Tables[edit]

Added tables for lists of bridges over the North and South Branches Potomac respectively, and will add the links to topo maps for North Branch bridges soon. The list of South Branch bridges is from memory and some map spot-checking so if anyone knows of a bridge that may have been left off, please feel free to include it in one of the tables. Thanks. 207.255.205.142 21:55, 6 September 2005 (UTC)

Potomac River Page Length[edit]

Is it becoming approrpriate to split up the page and give the respective branches of the Potomac River their own articles? --Caponer 19:40, 8 November 2005 (UTC)

Hm. Maybe we should split out the tables instead, to [List of bridges on the Potomac River] or some sort? --Golbez 19:56, 8 November 2005 (UTC)
I just noticed that other rivers like the Shenandoah have separate pages for their different forks and branches. The Main, South, and North Branches of the Potomac are each very different and each have enough information for their own articles. I agree that a possible separate page for float trips and bridges may be appropriate too in order to shrink the article some. --Caponer 22:59, 17 November 2005 (UTC)

Potomac River Edits[edit]

I took the liberty of making the Potomac River article more uniform in subject order and fixed a number of internal links. --Caponer 21:34, 19 November 2005 (UTC)

I noted that there are two meanders between Blue Ford and the mouth of the South Branch. These meanders distinguish Blue Meadows and French's Neck West. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jegenrieder (talkcontribs) 01:06, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Categories[edit]

Rather than including this page in the nineteen categories of counties through which the river flows, may I suggest establishing something similar to Category:Ohio River counties? Malepheasant 03:42, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

I concur. --207.255.207.24 00:58, 12 December 2005 (UTC)

Potomac River crossings[edit]

I created a separate page that lists dams, bridges, and other crossings of the Potomac River. List of crossings of the Potomac River --Caponer 05:10, 18 December 2005 (UTC)

Northern Branch in West Virginia[edit]

I added a note about the headwaters of the N Branch being in West Virginia. From the Fairfax Stone the river actually flows west, then hooks north and then east for its first mile or so. The MD charter states:

...passing from the said Bay, called Delaware Bay, in a right Line, by the Degree aforesaid [40° N], unto the true meridian of the first Fountain of the River of Pattowmack, thence verging toward the South, unto the further Bank of the said River, and following the same on the West and South,...

As one follows the meridian line through the Fairfax Stone south from the Pennsylvania border, he hits the Potomac first at Kempton, Maryland rather that at the Fairfax stone. So all the river northwest of the stone is actually WV. See maps for the stone: 39°11′41″N 79°29′14″W / 39.19472°N 79.48722°W / 39.19472; -79.48722.

Peer Review[edit]

As noted above, I've nominated the Potomac River article for a peer review to be carried out. All contributors and editors to the Potomac River article are welcome and invited to take part in the peer review. Thank you. --Caponer 21:18, 20 March 2006 (UTC)

Cultural Dividing Point[edit]

Once again a user is using wikipedia to editorialized his political viewpoints of a state, see Maryland (edit | talk | history | links | watch | logs), into an article. Even though well source, the section is far from being NPOV. The language is very one sided to the slant of that the user is trying to focus on, and is also speculative in its nature. Also the section is extremely limited in it scope, mainly focusing on the last 20 years, while either attempting to discount trends that happened prior to the cited time period, as well of the scope of the information, which is primarily focused on the federal level with no mention of state or local, which would have a great impact on the cultural argument then would the wide blanket of the federal coverage. The geographic scope is also extremely limited, as it seems only to focus on the Rural Virginia and Urban Maryland, discounting the rural sections of Maryland in which most of the rive lies, as well as West Virginia. Even taking where it does create the boundaries between the states,m their is little difference between the political leaning of either state on the federal level along the river, as the difference is mostly on a state wide basis.

Also to all this section Cultural Dividing Point is misleading, as it focuses on a a subsection of a culture, specifically politics. To say that politics is the defining principal of culture, epically in the Unites States, is just simply inaccurate, as it would equate, due to the effective two party system, that their are two cultural subtypes in the united States based upon voting patterns and political affiliation, which is ludacrist. Either way the section needs a revamp and needs to be a section less about the politicise of the people living on the opposite banks of a river and more about the culture of the people living along the river, taking it from historic perspective rather than a contemporary only perspective. Other wise i move to remove it on the basis on NOT (Wikipedia is not a soapbox) and POV/NPOV --Boothy443 | trácht ar 06:15, 13 May 2006 (UTC)

  • Indeed it is difficult to pick out the Potomac River on this map of the 2004 election results. And considering that presently the governor of Maryland is a Republican and the governor of Virgina is a Democrat, I find the claims presented in this new section to be too much of a stretch. Malepheasant 06:39, 13 May 2006 (UTC)
  • I would agree to the inclusion of historical perspectives (for example, noting the role that the river had played in the past) and even the renaming of the section to "Political Dividing Point." However, I still think that it's legitimate, as the river does separate the Red States (as a whole) from the Blue States (as a whole).

Certainly, exceptions can be noted (such as the area of Northern Virginia, which recently propelled then Lieutenant Governor Tim Kaine into the Governor's Mansion despite the fact that it does retain strong Republican sympathies).

By the logic, though, that because the two sides of the riverbank are not diametrically opposed to one another in all instances, the Potomac is then a null boundary, the Mason-Dixon Line would also be irrelevant. The countryside of both Maryland and Pennsylvania through which the Mason-Dixon runs is virtually identical, and the many Northern-leaning people in Frederick are countered by the Southern-leaning people in York who, even today, think of themselves as different from the rest of the Northeast.

My point is that the Mason-Dixon was not an absolute divide either; indeed, the people who lived within its proximity were very similar. As a whole, though, it did mark the end of the slave states and the beginning of the free ones. Such is the Potomac.

Please read my sources and consider this carefully, before becoming delete-happy. What happened at the Maryland article, when one loud and insistent user was able to hijack the process and thus trivialize cultural features of great importance to Maryland's identity (thereby getting rid of a critical component of the article) was contrary to Wikiprinciples.

I cannot stress enough: READ MY SOURCES and even do some searching on your own.

History21 14:15, 13 May 2006 (UTC)History21

No i am sorry, but what happend at the Maryland article was well justisified, as you basiclay took your rant from the talk page and incerted into the article, and your sourcsing of that article or this article makes your statements no less POV then what they would have been if you did not add the sources or not. Your edits were harldy non-trivial as well, and were far from making some kind point at all about the culture of Maryland. I dont know what dissapoint me the most that you continue to add your biased onesiade political argumnts, and thats all thay are, into articles and try to pass them off as somekinda difining point on culture, or that you "history major in college" yet you contine to use a narrow slice of history as the basis of all or your arguments, as well as slective information to go with it, and then try to pass it off as some kinda of definitive proof of what ever it is your are tring to prove, some political thing. It would be nice if you could do us a favor and keep your political pov to your self and not try to prove a point where you can. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 04:17, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
I took a crack at trying to make it less POV. I also renamed it since what its describing is a political divide, not a cultural one. Kmusser 19:40, 15 May 2006 (UTC)
Not bad, looks better now, i am still not impress with the section though, and it needs more a historial context, though i think it is sufficient to remove the tag for now. --Boothy443 | trácht ar 04:17, 16 May 2006 (UTC)
The whole section about the political dividing line is really quite silly and temporary. It should be removed in its entirety in my opinion. Who knows how long the trend will last and the observation is a rather fleeting one and truly applies only to a certain portion of the river. A review of the political opinions from bank to bank as you continue along the river will likely reveal very similar politics during along most of its length. VirginiaProp 20:55, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Still POV[edit]

I think that the entire section is by its very nature POV, and quite inappropriately so, since it focuses on a narrow window of history, rather than representing in any sense an historical trend. It should be jettisoned entirely, most probably, but perhaps if we must, we can leave in the somewhat interesting trivial observation that the river divided the 2004 electoral results as they fell along the east coast. At least that would be a fact, as opposed to a blatant mass of opinion. User:Vaux 14:29, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

And also, the misspellings and other abuses of the English language that are present in all comments to this section of the talk page brand each potential contributor, if a native speaker, as one who would do well to become more highly educated before making unilateral changes to wikipedia. The latter is a resource that will be read by impressionable young people the world over.

Vaux

The whole section about the political dividing line is really quite silly and temporary. It should be removed in its entirety in my opinion for several reasons. First, who knows how long the trend will last and the observation is a rather fleeting one and truly applies only to a certain portion of the river. Second, a review of the political opinions from bank to bank as you continue along the river will likely reveal very similar politics during along most of its length. Third, the section definitely has a POV, contrary to WP policy. VirginiaProp 20:55, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Considering the lack of response I'd see Be Bold and kill it, I certainly won't be sorry to see it go.Kmusser 20:29, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

Etymology[edit]

Resolved

I always thought that the name "Potomac" is derived from Greek ποταμός. Never thought of that it is a Native American name. Meursault2004 14:11, 29 June 2006 (UTC)

The name given to the indigenous people residing nearby was Patawomeke. Pataw, or patow, "to bring again," om, "motion" or "those that/that which go/goes" and eke "to come". Those-that-come-and-go-to-bring, most likely referring to traders of some sort, perhaps a black mineral found nearby. The Anglicized "Potomac" may in some way have reflected someone's knowledge of the Greek, but it is not its origin per se.

See The Algonquian Terms Patawomeke (Potomac) and Massawomeke for a good source about the etymology of Potomac. Eserfeliz (talk) 09:33, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

I agree. It is Greek, not American-Indian. English etymology is as irrelevant as Indian etymology. The fact that it is the river in Washington, DC, the capitol of a nation based on Greco-Roman laws and culture is proof enough. I hate when they take facts that have been taught for generations, and try to give credit to other groups for the sake of liberalism and equality. The Potomac being an Indian word is as ridiculous as Africans inventing peanut butter...Presidentbalut (talk) 02:49, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
It is possible that there is uncertainty over the origin of the name, but many strongly reliable sources say it comes from Algonquian. While there is certainly room to describe alternate theories they must be backed up by reliable sources. The three you've used are not reliable, so I've reverted your change, reworded the old text, removed some previous bad sources and added some new good ones—the best being the renowned toponymist William Bright's entry about the Potomac River. If you can find good sources about Potomac coming from Greek, please feel free to add this as an alternate theory. The three you used are not good because they are: 1) Wiktionary [1], which like Wikipedia itself, is not a reliable source; 2) A page from the personal website [2] of Yeshi Sherpa (see main page [3]); and 3) a Creationism website [4] (apparently the mobile page of [5]), which not only is not reliable but actually argues against your case, saying: "...By this spurious method, one could connect the Potomac river with the Greek ποταμός (potamos), although there is no connection between the native American and Greek words." They are saying the name of the Potomac River is not connected with the Greek ποταμός. Pfly (talk) 05:07, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
"The fact that it is the river in Washington, DC, the capitol of a nation based on Greco-Roman laws and culture is proof enough" (Presidentbalut). That is an absurd argument, considering the river bore the name Potomac at least as early as 1624, 150 years before the nation existed and Washington, D.C., was even thought of as a city. See John Smith's map for one example. —Diiscool (talk) 16:59, 14 April 2014 (UTC)
I am trying to find my sources, but apparently the internet doesn't have copies of the academic books I studied decades ago. I hate that you learn things in school, and then they change them later and say "show me it on a webpage". The whole of the universe is not contained on the internet. The internet has very little information on it. Yet the information it contains, is largely inaccurate. I will say this, "Potomac" is a Greek word. Sourced with a webpage or not. Presidentbalut (talk) 02:29, 17 April 2014 (UTC)
Please see the related discussion above, under Talk:Potomac_River#Name.3F. "Potomac" is not a Greek word, potamos is. Reliable sources do not tie the two together. The unreliable sources you cited gave both theories. The reliable sources in the article clearly document the Algonquian origin of the name.[6]
You do not need to find an internet source (though the search may be easier), only a reliable one. The existing sources are clearly reliable. If other sources disagree, we might include both, unless the sourcing for one is clearly superior.
Whatever you may feel about information on the internet is largely irrelevant. The current sourcing is three texts, including one from University of Oklahoma Press. This is not about "liberalism and equality" or the "capitol of a nation based on Greco-Roman laws and culture" (formed 100 years after the application of the name). This is about verifiability. - SummerPhD (talk) 02:57, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

The Algonquian origin is well sourced in the article. - SummerPhD (talk) 14:08, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

flow figures[edit]

The average flow is 4.86 million US gallons per minute (307 m³/s). The largest flow ever recorded on the Potomac at Washington, D.C. was in March 1936 when it reached 275 billion US gallons per day (12,000 m³/s). The lowest flow ever recorded at the same location was 388 million US gallons per day (17 m³/s) in September 1966.

This has peculiar unit mixing: Why are gallons per minute stated alongside gallons per day? As an occasional whitewater paddler, I've never seen a U.S. river measured in anything other than cubic feet per second. For example, the USGS posts a table of river stages and flows all expressed in CFS. Perhaps CFS isn't the custom on the Potomac? Or maybe east of the Mississippi water is conventionally measured differently? —EncMstr 21:41, 27 August 2006 (UTC)

I edited the flow figures for the Potomac. The mean flow where tidal influences start (above Wash DC near the pump station) for THIS time of year is 16,100 cfs. The total mean flow is lower, about 11,000 cfs. Here is my source [7]. - User:Peckvet55 23:02 MST, 30 April 2007

The per capita flow figures are *way* off - the river is the predominant source of drinking water for the population. The per capita flow must be at least 365*100gpcpd = 36,500 gallons/person/year (to be extremely conservative)Cphi (talk) 02:04, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I (Ogr_HK) deleted the per capita precipitation. Using average VA precipitation data and the verifiable data for area and population, precipitation/person = 38,000,000,000 sqm/5,000,000 persons*1.2 (avg. annual precipitation) ~9,120 m^3. More than a factor thousand over what was claimed before. I will not give a new figure without verifiable precipitation data for the Potomac's watershed, but the old figure was a joke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ogr HK (talkcontribs) 03:10, 10 August 2010 (UTC)

Pohick Creek merge[edit]

I think Pohick Creek should be merged into this article as it lacks any great ammount of content or sources. It's a candidate for deletion, but the name of the tributary could be maintained here. Alan.ca 10:20, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

  • NO Merge Pohick Creek is a tributary, not a part of the Potomac. --71Demon 01:40, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
  • NO Merge I agree, Pohick Creek is a major stream in its own right and its respective region has quite an interesting history to it. I'll try and add more to this article to save its status. --Caponer 16:47, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Fredericksburg?[edit]

"Potomac is a European spelling of an Algonquian name for a tribe subject to the Powhatan confederacy, that inhabited the river just below Fredericksburg. " Fredericksburg is on the Rappahannock, not the Potomac. Perhaps the Powhatans' home river should be specified. Rmasbury 21:28, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

The name of the tribe in question is the Patawmeke, and I think that is a pretty accurate description of where they lived. They lived on the parts of the Potomac that are near to Fredericksburg, right? Of course Fredericksburg itself is on the Rappahannock, a river named for another subtribe. ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 23:08, 16 April 2007 (UTC)
Then the sentence just needs to be adjusted to read more like " ... that inhabited the nearby Rappahannock River, just below Fredericksburg." That will remove the confusion. Rmasbury 15:30, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
Codex: I appreciate your efforts to clarify the origin of the name Potomac, but we're going backwards and confusing a bunch of kids that are cutting and pasting right now from Wikipedia.
" ... That inhabited the nearby Potomac river in the vicinity of Fredericksburg."  ???
Fredericksburg is on the Rappahannock. Not the Potomac. Fredericksburg's about 10 miles from the Potomac. I live in Frederick, Maryland, which is about the same distance from the Potomac, and nobody would say Frederick's on the Potomac. It's hardly even on the Monocacy River.
The best way to phrase this would be to change the Fredericksburg/Rappahannock business to "the lower reaches of the Potomac" (and/or Rappahannock, since they didn't confine themselves to one river drainage, but I'd be happier leaving that out), which is entirely accurate. Bringing Fredericksburg into the picture is just confusing.
FYI, the local term for the lower reaches of the Potomac/Rappahannock/York/James Rivers is The Tidewater, which is a pretty good summary of the area of influence for the Powhatan Confederation.
Rmasbury 00:58, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
LOL, er thanks for filling me in on the VWODT (Va. Way of Doing Things) there...! Or, I suppose you could just say the Patawmekes lived at the top of the Northen Neck... ፈቃደ (ውይይት) 02:12, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
If you can figure out the VWODT, let me know. Shall we discuss the Mat, Ta, Po and Ni Rivers, which join and become the Matta and the Poni, then the Mattaponi? Argh. What colonial-era sadist came up with that?
Northen Neck sounds fine to me, until somebody feels like doing a page on that part of the world. Rmasbury 02:26, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Drainage area[edit]

What is the correct drainage area? The text says "about 14,700 square miles" while the infobox lists "15,679 mi²". That's quite a difference. A correct figure with sources would be desirable. I have temporarily inserted the "fact" template until this issue is resolved. Qblik 01:52, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

I think the lower number is correct I found 14,670 [8] and 14,600 [9] Kmusser 02:44, 25 May 2007 (UTC)


WikiProject Virginia Assessment[edit]

Article is assessed at "B" status based on quantity and quality of material, but lacks better citations and sources to push it to a higher level. Importance is ranked at "high" based on general knowledge of River to a wide and diverse group of people. VirginiaProp 20:51, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Does the Potomac freeze?[edit]

83.189.129.35 (talk) 23:02, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Rarely - there are sources, of course (for instance try googling "potomac river frozen over"). However, information gleaned from a talk page isn't a reliable source Tedickey (talk) 23:48, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

The Potomac was frozen on January 13, 1982, when Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into it. Fredwerner (talk) 05:23, 31 December 2009 (UTC)

Splitting Article[edit]

Considering the length of the article and that fact that the North Branch and South Branch are pretty distinct from each other and the "main" Potomac River, I think it makes sense to split the North Branch and South Branch sections out to their own articles. What do other people think? There didn't seem to be any real consensus one way or the other when this was brought up a couple years ago. Brian Powell (talk) 16:43, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

It would make things shorter (by moving the long lists out), but it's not clear how the history and similar parts would be split nicely. Tedickey (talk) 12:52, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

I think it a good idea too, but first we need more material on N.Branch. If we need a good photo of the upper potomac, why not the river at Harpers Ferry? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.140.164.55 (talk) 23:40, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Dams on the Potomac[edit]

This article would benefit from a section listing the dams on the Potomac. Toddst1 (talk) 22:47, 1 June 2013 (UTC)