Which River In The United States Is Named After A Letter Of The Alphabet?

The D River flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
The D River flowing into the Pacific Ocean.

There are thousands of rivers in the United States spread out in its 50 states. These rivers are named after different things with each name usually having a meaning or a reason for being picked. Interestingly, among all those rivers, there is one that has been named after an alphabet letter. That river is the D River, which is located in Lincoln City in the US state of Oregon. Before its present name, it did not have a name. In addition, up until 1989, it held the record as the world’s shortest river in the Guinness World Records.


The once shortest river in the world has a length of only 440 feet. The flow starts at Devil’s Lake and drains into the nearby Pacific Ocean. Due to the short length, it should not be surprising that the flow is entirely within Lincoln City. Originally, the river was part of a town that was known as Delake. During that time, the D River was simply known as “the outlet,” which was a name that came from a contest. The town was eventually joined with others in 1965 to form the present-day Lincoln City.

Notable Activities Around The D River

Annual kite festivals are held in June and October along the D River. For this reason and others, Lincoln City has earned itself the nickname of the "Kite Capital of the World." Aside from that, the city is also the venue of the game Finders Keepers. Each year, the residents make floats out of glass and put them in water. One of the most popular hunting spots for these floats is the D River. If you find a float, it is yours, just like the name of the game suggests.

The Guinness World Records Controversy

The D River held the record for the world’s shortest river for a while until the records were updated in 1989. In that year, the world’s shortest river became Montana’s Roe River, which has a length of only 201 feet. Once that happened, Lincoln City wanted to reclaim the title and so they submitted new measurements of the river. The new measurements, which, according to Lincoln City, were measured at extreme high tide, stated that the D River has a length of 120 feet.

This new measurement sparked debates between Montana and Lincoln. At that time, a few unpleasant words were exchanged between the respective ruling bodies. However, Guinness did not step in to make a ruling on the dispute and left the Roe as the shortest river. In 2006, the category of the world’s shortest river was scraped off completely.


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