Monday, March 30, 2009
Cherry Blossoms 2 View
Saturday was the start of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. It will run until the 12th of April. If you Live within Driving or Metro distance of Washington DC you should try to attend at least once. This is one of Our National Parks events. There is so much history about the Trees. I will be posting some history, sights, sounds of this Festival for the next two weeks. Taking the festival around the Blogosphere. One should not miss out.
The Cherry Trees Journey to Washington DC took over 3 year. Planning started in 1888 when Eliza Scidmore of Madison Wisconsin met with the superintendents of Public Building and Grounds. As a photographer and writer she made her first trip to Japan in 1885 and fell in love with the Sakura(Cherry)trees. Thought they would look nice lining the Tidal Basin. Upon her return in 1888 she took her photographs and Postcards to the Superintendents of Public Buildings and Grounds. Eliza pined the photos the "most beautiful thing in the world-the Japanese cherry tree" Her efforts were unsuccessful. So,Eliza planed to raise funds to buy 100 cherry tree a year to plant. Hoping in ten years to line the waterway with 1000 trees. Before she could start this project William Howard Taft became President.Helen(Nellie) Herron Taft the First Lady heard about Eliza plan and wrote a Letter to her. Nellie Taft was in support of the trees being in Washington.
There were other people who also wanted the trees Planted,Marian Fairchild(daughter of Alexander Grand Bell). Her husband, Dr Fairchild work as an Official Plant explorer for the U.S.Department of Agriculture. He travel around the world looking for plants that could be imported to the U.S. The Fairchilds' lived in Maryland and had planted a successful Sakura-no (Cherry field) on their property. They started to plant the Cherry tree around the Washington area in 1908. Still no trees planted on the Potomac.
On August 30 1909 a letter was received from Japan stating that Tokyo intended to donate Cherry trees. Japan wanted them planted along the Potomac. the Cherry Trees were a Gift for the American role in the Peace Treaty, ending the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905. 2000 cherry Tree arrived in 1910 from Japan. However all but 6 trees were insect infected, and ordered to be Destroyed. The six trees were planted somewhere close to the National Park service Building near the Gulf Course. In 1912 6000 cherry tree arrived from Japan. 3000 for Washington DC and 3000 for New York city. The first tree was planted at the Tidal Basin by Mrs(Nellie)Taft in 1912. There were four witnesses,the Ambassador from Japan and wife, Viscountess Chinda, Colonel Spencer Cosby(Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds) and Eliza Scidmore.
The book "The Cherry Blossom Festival" by Ann McClellan is a good source if you wish to read more about the history.