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The place in the foto below, George Washington wanted to call it Paradise. Any guesses what we call it? Answer below.
For now, here’s a tour of some of the smaller watersheds I drove through in the past few days, from south to north. I like “watershed” as a word for a new year, a new time, because it suggests divisions that matter, potential change. On such terrain, details matter. Go a few inches one way or another , and the water there flows to the Atlantic or to the Gulf of Mexico. Similarly, a few seconds one way or another gets classified as one year or another. Most of us remember the hoopla around “y2k,” a watershed moment which–in that case–wasn’t as much as expected.
The Savannah River, below, carries a Taino name.
Answer to the Cape Fear River–ex-Charles River–question of yesterday: it’s a corruption of Cape Fair, kind of like Hell Gate deriving from the Dutch hellegat “beautiful passage.” More on that later.
The Tar River, fed by the Beaufort County ditches where I were spawned, takes its named from the product of its pine trees, a smell I still love.
Chowan River . . . named for former inhabitants.
The Chesapeake–sorry foto here looking here from the bridge/tunnel toward Cape Henry–carries the name of earlier inhabitants, or might be an Algonquian word for “big river.” Cape Henry was not named for Mr Hudson, but rather a Prince of Wales. Hmm . . . prints of whales? The Chesapeake watershed includes a large portion of New York state southwest of the Catskills.
All of which brings me to an article from the Gotham Gazette on ideas for re-naming our sixth boro river that isn’t a river. Have an ideas yourself on re-naming the East River? Enjoy Erik Baard’s thoughts. “Gotham” might not be a flattering name itself.
From yesterday: Assateague (ex-Northhampton) might come from a native word meaning “on the other side.”
All fotos by Will Van Dorp.