Known as “the nation’s river”, the Potomac runs through West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and DC.
10. The Potomac is about 383 miles long.
9. About 90 percent of DC area drinking water comes from Potomac.
7. The water quality of the river began deteriorating in the 19th century as a result of mining, agriculture and sewage. It became so polluted that President Lyndon Johnson called the river “a national disgrace” and put measures in place to return it to its former glory. It’s made substantial success since that time, but still has a long way to go.
6. Rumor has it that Abraham Lincoln would escape to higher ground on summer nights to escape the smell of the Potomac.
5. You’re not allowed to swim in the Potomac (but that’s not to say that people don’t). In 2009, six people died in the river. You will see signs posted on trails near the river stating the number of people who have died so far that year.
4. The Potomac Conservancy is a non-profit working to improve the river’s water quality.
2. About 5 million people live in the Potomac Watershed and the population is expected to grow 10 percent each decade.
1. President John Quincy Adams swam naked in the Potomac every day. One afternoon Anne Royall, one of the first female journalists, forced Adams to give her an interview by standing on his clothes and refusing to move until she got her questions answered.