When globetrotter and travel writer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore returned home to Washington, D.C., from a trip to Japan in 1885, she was smitten. Everything about the mysterious land in the Far East had enchanted the young woman, but the country’s flowering cherry trees had cast a particular spell on her.
“The blooming cherry tree is the most ideally, wonderfully beautiful tree that nature has to show, and its short-lived glory makes the enjoyment the keener and more poignant,” she later wrote.
Scidmore believed cherry blossoms would be the perfect additions to the barren parkland that had just been reclaimed from the Potomac River’s mud flats. After presenting her idea to the U.S. Army superintendent in charge of the park, however, she was promptly turned down. Scidmore, however, was undeterred. To find out how her cherry tree idea became reality 24 years later, click here to continue reading.