Ever wondered how the names of waterways vary from state to state? An interesting map by Derek Watkins shows the differences in waterway toponyms in the United States.


Map by Derek Watkins.



The patterns of settlement across the country give reason to the difference. From the brooks of New England and the kills of New

Netherland York to the bayous of New France

Louisiana and the rios of New Mexico, the variety of names adds flavor to a diverse nation.

The stark differences, especially in the Mid-Atlantic and New England show how varied the histories of those regions are, despite their size.

The map shows creeks and rivers in gray, since those names are so common nationwide. Though sometimes things get mixed up. Consider Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River: It’s a kill and a river.

Crossposted at The Straight Line.

Tagged: geography, maps

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master’s in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Capitol Hill. He’s a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners, and is an employee of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation. His views are his own and do not represent those of his employer.