The Tidal Basin in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Gift of Trees
National Mall and Memorial Parks
— National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior —
Flowering cherry trees — which bloom profusely but do not bear edible fruit — were not common in the United States in 1900. American visitors to Japan found their beauty remarkable and journalist Eliza Scidmore was inspired to have these trees planted in Washington, D.C. She and David Fairchild, a botanist at the Department of Agriculture and plant explorer, were interested in beautifying the city’s landscape. In 1909, the project was endorsed at the highest level by First Lady Helen Herron Taft, who had seen photographs of the flowering trees from Japan. The first gift of trees from the city of Tokyo to the city of Washington, D.C. arrived the next year.
The 1910 Shipment
Two thousand cherry trees arrived in Washington, D.C. from Tokyo on January 6, 1910. U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists were becoming more aware of the danger posed by insects and pests imported from abroad. Insects and nematodes were found on the trees and the entire shipment had to be destroyed. A difficult diplomatic situation was avoided through the combined efforts of the U.S. State Department and Japanese authorities. On
(1856-1928) had a career in journalism and a deep interest in Japanese culture. She promoted the planting of Japanese flowering cherry trees in Washington, D.C. for more than 20 years.
Dr. David Fairchild
(1869-1954), a U.S. Department of Agriculture botanist, oversaw the introduction of thousands of ornamental, food, and other plant species into the United States.
(1858-1954), Mayor of Tokyo at the time of the gift of cherry trees, was committed to advancing good relations between Japan and the United States.
Dr. Jokichi Takamine
(1854-1922), a distinguished chemist famous for the isolation of the hormone adrenaline and the first president of the pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, played a pivotal role in the city of Tokyo’s gift of trees to the city of Washington, D.C.
Erected 2011 by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & Politics • Horticulture & Forestry • Peace. A significant historical month for this entry is January 1809.
Location. 38° 53.105′ N, 77° Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1540 Maine Avenue Southwest, Washington DC 20024, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Keeping the Cherry Trees Healthy (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); The General Dwight David Eisenhower Plaza (approx. 0.2 miles away); Raoul Wallenberg Place (approx. ¼ mile away); Thomas Jefferson (approx. ¼ mile away); Escape Across the Potomac (approx. ¼ mile away); A Monumental Legacy (approx. ¼ mile away); Yates Building (approx. ¼ mile away); John Paul Jones Memorial (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in The Tidal Basin.
More about this marker.
The 1910 letter from the U.S. State Department to Japanese officials.
Burning the trees, 1910.
Also see . . . National Cherry Blossom Festival. (Submitted on December 13, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional keywords. Cherry Blossom Festival; Tidal Basin; Thomas Jefferson Memorial.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 5, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 13, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 655 times since then and 2 times this year. Last updated on December 14, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on December 13, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 4. submitted on December 14, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 5, 6, 7. submitted on December 15, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.