In honor of Women’s History Month and the release of the Peak Bloom dates for the Cherry Blossom Festival, here is a #tbt to the ladies who started it all.
After arriving back to Washington, DC from her first visit to Japan, Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore (first female board member of the National Geographic Society) was so enamored by the Cherry Blossom trees there that she suggested that some be planted along the reclaimed land by the Potomac River. It took her 24 years before the idea finally took root. In 1909, Scidmore decided to raise money to buy some cherry trees and donate them to the District. Mainly out of formality, Scidmore wrote a letter to First Lady Helen Herron Taft and she enthusiastically responded back taking up the task of acquiring the trees. On August 30, 1909, the Embassy of Japan informed the U.S. State Department that on behalf of Mayor Yukio Ozaki, the city of Tokyo intended to donate 2000 cherry trees to the U.S. to be planted along the Potomac as a symbol of the growing and continued friendship between the U.S. and Japan. Unfortunately, when they arrived the trees were infested with insects and nematodes, so they sadly had to be burned. Another donation of 3,020 trees were shipped over on February 14, 1912. On March 27th, First Lady Helen Taft and Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted the first two of these trees on the north bank of the Tidal Basin in West Potomac Park. These two trees still stand today at the end of 17th Street SW!
You can see these breathtaking trees in full bloom on our Blossoms by Bike tour! The National Park Service projects Cherry Blossom 2019 peak bloom dates to be April 3rd to April 6th. Book now to take in the beauty of the blossoms and more on our two-hour tour, the official bike tour of the National Cherry Blossom Festival!
This special ride showcases the famous Japanese cherry trees, their history and the amazing sea of pink and white blossoms. Book now for the best dates! http://bit.ly/BlossomsByBike