How many cherry blossom trees in dc


Types of Trees - Cherry Blossom Festival (U.S. National Park Service)

Cherry Tree Types & Locations

NPS Photo, Rachel Hendrix

There are approximately 3,800 cherry trees within the park. The locations and condition of each tree are monitored by tree crew staff. The initial gift of 3,020 trees was represented by 12 different varieties. Two varieties, the Yoshino and Kwanzan, are now the most common type in Washington DC.

Mostly Yoshino cherry trees circle the Tidal Basin and spill north onto the Washington Monument grounds. Yoshino cherries produce many single white blossoms that create the effect of white clouds around the Tidal Basin. Known as Somei-yoshino in Japan, Yoshinos are a hybrid first introduced in Tokyo in 1872. Now, Yoshinos are one of the most popular cultivated flowering cherry trees.

Mingled with the Yoshino trees are a small number of Akebono cherry trees, a mutation of the Yoshino cherry with single, pale‑pink blossoms. Akebono trees were introduced by W. B. Clarke of California in 1920. The Akebono cherry trees flower at the same time as the Yoshino, providing a tint of pink in the early stages of the peak bloom.

Kwanzan cherry trees are named after a mountain in Japan. Kwanzan cherry trees primarily grow in East Potomac Park. Coming into bloom two weeks later than the Yoshino, the upright Kwanzan branches produce heavy clusters of pink double blossoms.

In East Potomac Park you'll also find Fugenzo and Shirofugen trees. Fugenzo cherry trees blossom with double, rosy pink flowers. Shirofugen trees blossom with double flowers as well, white when the blossoms are open and aging to pink. Fugenzo cherry trees were originally planted along the Potomac River from the present site of the Lincoln Memorial south toward East Potomac Park, but gradually disappeared there.

The Weeping Japanese Cherry, sometimes called the Higan Cherry, is interspersed between the Yoshino, Akebono, and Kwanzan cherry trees. The flowers of the Weeping Cherry vary, blossoming as single or double flowers and in colors from dark pink to white. Weeping Japanese cherry trees flower about a week before the Yoshino trees.

Other tree types found in the park include the Autumn Flowering Cherry with semi-double, pink flowers, the Sargent Cherry with single, deep pink flowers, the Usuzumi Cherry with white-grey flowers, and the Takesimensis Cherry with clusters of white flowers.

Cherry Tree Field Guide

Yoshino Cherry (Prunus x yedoenis) - Approximately 70% of the total number of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: a round topped, wide spreading tree that reaches 30 to 50 feet at maturity.
Flowers: white, single in clusters of 2 to 5, and almond-scented.
History: This hybrid cherry of unknown Japanese origin was first noticed in Tokyo about 1872 and is now one of the favorite cultivated cherry trees of Japan. Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 6: Range of average minimum temperature 0 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Kwanzan Cherry (Prunus serrulata "Kwanzan") Approximately 13% of the cherry trees in the park.
Habit: an upright-spreading tree to 30 feet, with a rounded crown and stiff ascending branches. Wider than tall at maturity.
Flowers: double, with about 30 petals, in pendulous clusters of 3 to 5, sometimes more, clear pink and fading but small, up to 2½ inches across, with many more or less petaloid stamens often partly concealing the two green leafy carpels which protrude from the center of the flower.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 5: Range of average minimum temperature -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Akebono Cherry (Prunus x yedoensis "Akebono") Approximately 3% of the cherry trees in the park.
Habit: a round topped, wide spreading tree that can reach 30 to 50 feet at maturity.
Flowers: single, pale pink that fade to white, in clusters of 2 to 5.
History: This cultivar is losing popularity in the nursery trade and is being replaced with the cultivar Afterglow (Prunus x yedoensis "Afterglow") which has pink blossoms that are deeper in color and do not fade.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 6: Range of average minimum temperature 0 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Weeping Cherry (Prunus Subhirtella var. pendula) Approximately 2.4% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: tree 20 to 40 feet high, with a round-flattened, gracefully, weeping crown. Usually grafted about 6 feet on the understock.
Flowers: single, pink. This variety is very variable and select cultivars differ in form and color. (i.e., "Pendula Rosea", single deep pink flowers; "Pendula Plena Rosea", double, pink flowers; "Pendula Alba", single, white flowers; "Rosey Cloud", double, bright pink flowers; "Snowfozam", single, white flowers etc. ). Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 5: Range of Average minimum temperature -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Takesimensis Cherry (Prunus takesimensis) Approximately 5% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: an upright spreading tree that can reach 30-40 ft. at maturity.
Flowers: white, in large clusters with short pedicels.
History: This species is known to grow in wet locations in its native habitat and is currently being tested in East Potomac Park for tolerance to excessive moisture.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 6: Range of Average minimum temperature 0 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Autumn Flowering Cherry (Prunus subhirtella var. autumnalis) Approximately 3% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: an upright rounded tree to 25-30 ft. with a 15-20 ft. spread.
Flowers: semi-double, pink. During warm periods in the fall and winter months they will open sporadically and then fully flower the following spring.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 4: Range of average minimum temperature -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Usuzumi Cherry (Prunus spachiana f. ascendens) Approximately 1.3% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: tree to 40 ft. with a round, gracefully ascending crown.
Flowers: single, white, truning to grey.
History: The trees in West Potomac Park are propagations from the 1,400+ year old Usuzumi tree growing in the village of Itasho Neo, in Gifu Prefecture of Japan. It is said that that the 26th Emporer Keitai of Japan planted this tree to celebrate his ascension to the throne. The Usuzumi tree was declared a National Treasure of Japan in 1922.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 6: Range of average minimum temperature 0 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sargent Cherry (Prunus sargentii) Less than 1% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: Upright to 40-50 ft. with spreading branches approximately equal to height.
Flowers: single, deep pink, in clusters.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 4: Range of Average minimum temperature -20 to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fugenzo Cherry (Prunus serrulata 'Fugenzo')
Habit: up to 20 feet high and 20 feet wide, with a broad crown, often flattened and with the branches intercrossing horizontally.
Flowers: double, about 30 petals, rose pink, becoming lighter with age but never white, up to 2 inches across, in pendulous clusters of 4 to 6. This is one of the oldest cultivated cherry trees in Japan.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 6: Range of Average minimum temperature 0 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Shirofugen Cherry (Prunus serulata "Shirofugen") Less than 1% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: a flat topped, wide spreading tree to 20-25 ft.
Flowers: double, in large clusters, white when open aging to pink.
Zone: Hardy to USDA Hardiness Zone 5: Range of Average minimum temperature -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Okame Cherry (Prunus x "Okame") Less than 1% of cherry trees in the park.
Habit: Upright tree to 25 ft. with a 20 ft. spread.
Flowers: semi-double, pink. The earliest flowering cherry.
Zone: USDA Hardiness Zone 5: Range of Average minimum temperature -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. USDA Hardiness Zone 6: Range of Average minimum temperature 0 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit.

Complete Guide to Washington DC Cherry Blossoms 2023

  • Share
  • Tweet

Last Updated on 16th October 2022 by Sophie Nadeau

If there’s one destination in the world that’s famed for its beautiful blooms in the spring time, it’s the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms! Here’s your ultimate guide to enjoying the cherry blossoms in DC, as well as things to know before you go.

Hands down, one of the best times to visit Washington DC (often abbreviated to just DC for short) is during the cherry blossom season. This is also undoubtedly the most popular time to visit the city and so be sure to book your travel well in advance if you want to secure the best accommodation and transportation rates.

DC stands for the District of Columbia and the area is situated on the east bank of the Potomac River. The US states either side of DC are Virginia and Maryland. Some of the most famous highlights of the city include the United States Capitol building, The White House, and the Library of Congress.

Contents

  • When do the DC cherry blossoms flower?
    • The indicator tree
  • How did DC become known for its cherry blossom?
  • The National Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Where to see cherry blossoms in Washington DC
    • Tidal Basin cherry blossoms
    • East Potomac Park
    • The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    • U. S. National Arboretum
    • The Gardens of Dumbarton Oaks
  • Map for seeing the best cherry blossom in DC
  • Tips for enjoying the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms
  • What to wear for a cherry blossom photo shoot

When do the DC cherry blossoms flower?

It’s a hard question to answer the precise moment when the cherry blossoms in DC will bloom because the exact answer changes on an annual basis depending on rainfall and other weather conditions.

With this being said, the blossoms tend to flower in the last few week of March and first few weeks of April, with peak season traditionally being the first week of April.

If you’re wondering when to book your trip and wish to plan well in advance, then booking for the first or second week of April is probably the safest option for being able to see at least some of the beautiful blooms. It’s worth noting that the cherry blossom trees bloom at different times (depending on the variety) and there are also autumn blossoming trees.

The indicator tree

There is a specific tree, situated to the East of the Thomas Jefferson Memorial that blooms a week to ten days before any other cherry blossom in the park. It’s worth noting that there is nothing particularly historic or important about the indicator tree, it just reliably blooms before the other trees in the park!

It’s party in thanks to this tree that the National Park Service horticulturalists use to make their predictions about when the peak of the cherry blossoms of DC will be.

How did DC become known for its cherry blossom?

The story of the DC Cherry Blossom Trees actually dates back to the 1880s. At this time, a woman named Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore visited Japan for the first time thanks to her brother who was a diplomat.

She was a remarkable woman who was a world traveller, researcher, writer, and was even the first woman to sit on the board of trustees of the National Geographic Society. Scidmore was so amazed by the cherry blossom trees that she felt that DC should have its own trees.

Thus began a petition whereby Scidmore would write letter after letter for decades to ensure that DC would receive its own cherry blossom trees. In 1909 a newly installed First Lady, Helen Taft, at the White House took over office and became interested in the project.

From there, the plans took off the ground quickly. Unfortunately, the first set of trees arrived infested and so a second shipment had to be sent. Eventually, the beautiful trees arrived and were a gift from Japan in 1912 to symbolise friendship between the USA and Japan.

The first tree was planted by the First Lady along with the Japanese Ambassador’s wife. Originally, there were 3,020 trees was represented by 12 different varieties of cherry blossom tree.

At the time, the Tidal Basin was newly built and so was not very attractive to look at. The cherry blossom installation project was the first beautification project undertaken by a First Lady in Washington DC. of the original trees, only 100 or so remain.

Today, there are around 3,800 cherry blossom trees, with the Yoshino and Kwanzan being the most common types you’ll see. Up to 70% of the trees are Yoshino cherry blossoms and these are typically among the earliest trees to bloom.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival

Indeed, such is the importance of the cherry blossom trees in DC that the peak of the blooms (hanami) has since become a National Cherry Blossom Festival that has been celebrated every year over the course of four weeks since 1934.

Each year, 1.5 million people visit DC during blossom season to enjoy the flowers. The entirety of the city is covered in blooming trees and flower border gardens that are arguably equally as beautiful to look at as the trees themselves.

Where to see cherry blossoms in Washington DC

Please note that vehicular access to the Tidal Basin and East Potomac Park is reduced from the end of March to the middle of April (exact dates depend on when the blossoms are in bloom). As such, the easiest way to get around the area is by taking local transportation, including walking and via bus. Alternatively, you can book a bike tour of the cherry blossoms like this one.

Tidal Basin cherry blossoms

The largest collection of cherry blossoms in DC is concentrated around the Tidal Basin. A circular 2.1-mile loop, the trail is fairly easy and will take walkers through the trees so as to best enjoy the tradition of hanami (cherry blossom viewing whereby the viewer enjoys the transient nature of the flowers).

The most common type of blossom surrounding the tidal blossom is the Yoshino cherry tree, interspersed with Akebono cherry trees (light pink blooms). Looking up at the trees surrounding you on the trail feels akin to strolling underneath clouds of flowers thanks to the fact that the Yoshino blossoms are white.

One of the key places of interest along the trail is located south of Independence Avenue and is a marker which indicates where the first cherry blossom tree in DC was planted (unfortunately the tree is no longer standing).

This is also where you’ll find the Japanese stone Lantern, which stands at eight and a half feet tall and weighs a staggering 2 tons. The lantern was carved in 1651 and was a gift from Japan to the US in 1954.

The lantern once stood outside of a temple in what is modern day Tokyo and its partner lantern remains in Tokyo to this day. The lantern gift was to be a symbol of their reemerging relationship with the United States after World War II and is now lit at the beginning of the Cherry Blossom Festival each year.

East Potomac Park

Yet another location in DC where visitors can enjoy the cherry blossom is in East Potomac Park, which is located a stone’s throw away from the Tidal Basin. This park boasts a slightly different variety of cherry blossoms, the Kwanzan cherry trees.

The best Kwanzan trees (also known as Kanzan Cherry Trees) are located on Hains Point. It’s also worth noting that the blooms are a little further away from most of the crowded locations so might be a better spot to photograph the blossoms with fewer people. The Hains Point Loop trail is a 4.1-mile loop.

These cherry blossom trees are characterised by their double blossoms which are pink in colour. The blossoms flower around two weeks later than those around the Tidal Basin and so are a good alternative if you’re not able to visit DC at the end of March/ beginning of April and instead have to visit a week or two later.

Kwanzan cherry trees in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris

The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception

One of the more urban spots in the city where visitors to DC can spy spring blooms is outside of the The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

U.S. National Arboretum

If you want to escape the crowds of central Washington DC, then the U.S. National Arboretum is a great place to enjoy the cherry blossoms. The park is set on 412-acre and boasts two dozen varieties of cherry trees!

The Gardens of Dumbarton Oaks

Yet another place that’s a little off beat to see cherry blossoms in DC is The Gardens of Dumbarton Oaks. Located in the Georgetown neighbourhood, the Garden’s Cherry Hill offers visitors the chance to see 6 different cherry tree varieties.

All have different bloom times, meaning that the cherry blossom season at the Gardens is longer than at the Tidal Basin. What’s more is that the Apricot blooms as early as February and the plums flower in March!

Map for seeing the best cherry blossom in DC

Tips for enjoying the Washington DC Cherry Blossoms

The first tip that I can give you for enjoying the blossoms is that it’s impossible to plan a trip in advance for when the blossoms will bloom. As such, it’s better to plan a trip for the last week of March or first week of April as you’re almost guaranteed to see the blossoms (though they may not be at their peak).

For the best days, be sure to keep an eye on social media under the hashtag #bloomwatch. The best time of the day to visit the cherry blossoms is at sunrise. Golden hour will not only be the best time of the day for the lighting of your photos, but is also the quietest time of the day to visit the blooms.

Arguably one of the most important tips to ensure the protection of the cherry blossom trees for the future is to enjoy the trees with your eyes only. Don’t pick the flowers or touch the trees as this can harm the precious cherry trees.

What to wear for a cherry blossom photo shoot

There is no set style of dress or colour that you should specifically wear when taking your photo under a cherry blossom tree. With this being said, some colours pop more than others. Pastel hues and light clothing is always a great choice, as are floral prints. Flowing designs such as long skirts and dresses can often compliment the flowing of the flowers.

Enjoyed reading The Ultimate Guide to Washington DC Cherry Blossoms? Pin this article now, read it again later:

Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She now splits her time between London and Paris! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.

  • Share
  • Tweet

What you need to know about cherry blossoms in Washington DC

MAP THIS

Share

Cherry trees are the stars of spring in Washington DC. From peak bloom (March 22-25) to where to find them, here's what you need to know before planning a trip to see the flowers.

Cherry blossoms are without a doubt the stars of spring in Washington DC. Visit the county during this time and you'll find the nation's capital highlighted in pink for the National Cherry Blossom Festival hosting virtual and in-person events from March 20 to April 17, 2022. Here are a few things to know when planning to celebrate the bloom at home or on a safe, personal visit to Washington.


Please note that the National Park Service (NPS) requires masks to be worn when physical distancing cannot be maintained. Visit the NPC Chestny Znak website for more information on safety protocols and peak bloom. You can also see what's open in DC and take a close look at the latest travel status updates.

Photo by Gina Falcone

This popular question gets a different answer every year. The National Park Service predicts a peak bloom of March 22-25. . The average peak bloom date, when 70% of cherry blossoms are open, is April 4th. In the past, flowering peaked on March 15th and ended on April 18th. The entire flowering period can last up to 14 days, including the days preceding the peak of flowering. NPS forecasts the official bloom peak each year and shares the details on its website, which also states that "it's almost impossible to give an accurate forecast much earlier than 10 days before peak bloom. " The best viewing of cherry blossoms usually lasts four to seven days after peak bloom begins, but blooms can last up to two weeks under ideal conditions.


load more

@amandeisner

The most popular place to visit cherry blossom trees is the Tidal Basin, which provides great photo ops near the Jefferson Memorial, Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Most of the flowering plants are located in this area and along the coastline of East Potomac Park, which extends to Cape Haynes.

Meanwhile, small groups of trees can be found along the National Mall, northwest of the Lincoln Memorial and around the Washington Monument. Invisible cherry blossom trees can be found at the National Arboretum, Anacostia Park, Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Stanton Park, and Oxon Run Park. Here's how to get to cherry blossoms by bike, subway, or on foot in all of the D. C. cherry blossom spots. Be sure to read DC's latest trip status updates as well.

@transplantsindc

First, there is no bad time to visit cherry blossoms. Every time you see them, you will be wasting your time. During the spring season, the least busy time to visit the cherry blossoms is in the early morning or evening. You can expect more people on weekends and during the peak season.

Please do your part to protect the National Mall and cherry blossoms. We remind you to look at the flowers, but never pick them (it's against the law).

@jonlloydjr

Slot Machine The National Cherry Blossom Festival (March 20-April 17) is a citywide event commemorating the 1912 Mayor of Tokyo's gift of 3,000 cherry blossom trees to Washington, DC. This year's festival includes a number of spectacular festivities, including the Opening Ceremony (March 20th), the Kite Blossoming Festival (March 26th), the National Cherry Blossom Festival parade (April 9th) and Petalpalooza (April 16th). Local restaurants are even getting into the spirit of the Cherry Picks program, and D.C. hotels are offering themed packages, deals, and discounts.

More about DC

You may also like..

Partner content

Affiliate Content

History of Washington DC | US Encyclopedia

US Congressional Capitol in Washington DC Built in Georgetown in 1765, the "Old Stone House" is the oldest building in District of Columbia

In present-day Washington, DC, for at least four Native Americans lived here thousands of years before the arrival of the first Europeans. By the beginning of the 17th century, when in the north of modern Virginia was founded the first English colony, lived here Patawomec Indian peoples, Powhatan (south of the Potomac River), Piscataway (on the lands of modern Maryland) and others.

George Thompson and Thomas Gerrard became the first European landowners on these lands in 1662. In 1697 The authorities of the Maryland colony built a fortified fort here.

In 1751, on the "line of fall" (slope separating Atlantic lowland from the foothills Appalachian) was founded the city of Georgetown. He became the furthest point up the Potomac, which could be reached by ships loaded with goods from the Atlantic, and soon began to play significant role in Maryland's trade. With the development of the economy, the population of the city also grew, in 1789here Georgetown University was founded (today it is one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the United States). Georgetown will remain a separate municipality education in the territory of the federal district until 1871.

Georgetown University in Washington On the Banks of the Potomac

The first capital of an independent American state was Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In June 1783, an incident occurred there when a crowd of angry soldiers broke into Independence Hall (where the Congress of the Confederacy was meeting), demanding payment for their service during the war for independence. Congress demanded that the Governor of Pennsylvania provide his protection, but he refused to do so. Congressmen were then forced to flee the "City of Brotherly Love" to Princeton, New Jersey. The "Philadelphia Mutiny" and the refusal of the state government to protect the federal government served a very serious reason for introducing into the US Constitution a separate article on the creation of a district that is not included in any of states, where the government of the state was to be located.

The location of such a district caused disputes among the "founding fathers", it was claimed by the "northern" states New York and New Jersey (with major cities and more developed industry), as well as "southern" Maryland and Virginia (agricultural and slave-oriented). Directly the choice of a place for the future capital was discussed Thomas Jefferson (future third President of the United States), James Madison (who became fourth President of the United States) and Alexander Hamilton (first Secretary of the Treasury). As a result, in in exchange for agreeing to pay a significant part of the government's debts (accumulated during the war), preference was given to "southerners" and the coast of the Potomac River on the border of Maryland and Virginia.

On December 23, 1788, the Maryland General Assembly passed a law allowing land to be transferred to a newly created federal district. Virginia legislators passed a similar resolution on December 3, 1789. July 16, 1790 was adopted federal law that authorized the first President of the United States, George Washington, to choose a seat for the future capital on the Potomac River, between the mouths of the Eastern Branch (now called Anacostia) and Konnogochega. The territory of the district could not be more than a square with a side of ten miles. Next year Congress amended this law, slightly expanding the possible location of the capital territory, but limiting the location of future government buildings only to the lands of the northern, Maryland coast. The reason for this restriction was the desire to avoid conflicts of interest, since on the south coast, quite nearby, was located the estate of Washington himself.

Scheme of the original marking of the boundaries of the District of Columbia One of the surviving border pillars in Washington, D.C. Plan of Washington by Pierre Lanfant, 1791

On March 30, 1791, the President issued a decree that marked the starting (southernmost) point for surveying the territory district and marking its borders. He also appointed to oversee land acquisition, planning and design future city of the three commissioners, who in September 1791 decided to name the future city "Washington", and the district - "Territory of Colombia" (in honor of the then popular symbol of America). Throughout 1791-92 years were explored and marked out the boundaries of the future cities; they were marked by the installation of forty sandstone boundary pillars (most of which have survived to our days). days).

In 1791, George Washington commissioned the architect Pierre Lanfant to develop a plan for the future capital. Langfang fulfilled task of the President, and his project provided for the creation of a "correct" grid oriented to the cardinal points (north-south and west-east) streets that were supposed to cross wide avenues. In the very center of the city, on a hill, the building of the Capitol of Congress was to be built, from which a wide esplanade stretched (today it National Mall). Langfang's plan served as the basis for the project, although it was slightly modified. Andrew Ellicott, who supervised the marking of the county's boundaries.

On October 13, 1792, the cornerstone was laid in a ceremony attended by George Washington. "Presidential House" (now known as the "White House"). September 18, 1793 similar the ceremony was held at the laying of the future Capitol - the building of the US Congress.

The city was built quickly (albeit unevenly, next to the new magnificent buildings there were wastelands and pastures) and already on November 17 1800, American legislators held their first session in Washington, and on February 27, 1801, the District of Columbia officially passed under the jurisdiction of Congress.

Washington was badly damaged during the Anglo-American War of 1812-1815. In August 1814, a British squadron entered the Potomac, and on August 24 the landing force from the ships captured the US capital. The White House was looted and burned, buildings of the Capitol, the US Treasury, the State Department and many others, including the Navy Yard with ships built on it. The fire in Washington was so strong that the glow in the night sky could be seen eighty kilometers. The city was saved from complete destruction by a strong storm and a downpour that extinguished those buildings that had not yet been managed to burn down. The British, having achieved their goal, left the American capital, having stayed in it for only twenty years. six o'clock. Soon, its inhabitants returned to the city, and within three weeks a meeting of Congress was held in Washington.

The British burn down the White House Washington, DC, 1852

In 1835, the first steam locomotives appeared in Washington: a branch line was built Baltimore-Ohio Railroad. In 1844, along it between Washington and Baltimore built the world's first electric telegraph line.

In 1846, the Smithsonian Institution was founded in Washington DC by the US government, which later became the largest complex museums and research institutions.

Soon after the creation of the federal district, many residents of the city (and district) of Alexandria (formerly former part of Virginia) began to express dissatisfaction. The reason for it was the outstripping development of the "northern coast" of the district: the piers of the port of Georgetown were more in demand; public buildings were built only in the north; lived there most congressmen and government officials. At the same time, the inhabitants of this city (as well as the entire District of Columbia) do not had their representatives in Congress. Alexandria held a referendum on whether to leave the District of Columbia. the majority of residents supported this idea. The US Congress passed the corresponding law and, after the approval of legislators state, the territory of the federal district, located south of the Potomac, in 1847 again became part of Virginia.

View of Washington from a balloon, 1861
(illustration from the magazine Harper's Weekly ) Washington, DC, 1871

For the first decades of its history, Washington was a very small city, only by 1850 its population exceeded 50,000 people. The number of inhabitants grew sharply only during the years of the Civil War (exceeding 130,000 by 1870). people), both at the expense of military personnel and in connection with an increase in the number of government officials.

In 1871, Congress abolished separate administrative powers for the cities of Washington and Georgetown, creating a single for the entire federal district authorities.

In 1901, the US Congress created a commission whose task was to develop a program for the development of the center of the American capital Cities. A group of architects and landscape designers led by Senator James Macmillan, it was his name received a plan that was presented to American legislators and the public a few months later.

The "Macmillan Plan" became the basis for the creation of the National Mall, as it has become in our time. Its authors returned to Langfang's idea of ​​a wide avenue along which majestic buildings were to be erected. Although completely The "Macmillan Plan" was not implemented and not all the monuments and parks envisaged by it were built, it was on it the projects adopted today for the further development of the historical part of Washington are based.

In 1907, the main railway station of the capital, Union Station, was opened.

Union Station in Washington shortly after opening Photographers take pictures of cherry blossoms in Washington, April 1922

In March 1912, on the banks of the Potomac, the wife of US President William Taft and the cherry trees. These were the first of more than 3,000 trees donated by Japan to the United States. blooming in spring cherries became so popular among city residents and visitors that, over time, Washington became an annual "Cherry Blossom Festival"

In July 1919, racially motivated riots broke out in the city. Then the whites, including the military, attacked black residents with the tacit support of the police. The riot was stopped only by a heavy downpour, then fifteen people died and several dozen were injured.

During the Great Depression, the city grew rapidly thanks to numerous federal programs. That's when it was built most of the buildings of the "Federal Triangle" - a complex of government buildings (including the National Archives, Treasury etc ), occupying a triangular block in central Washington. Later, during the Second World War II, the city continued to grow, faced with a huge influx of people with a shortage of housing. In 1943 on the southern on the banks of the Potomac, in Arlington, a new building of the military department was built, known (due to its shape) as Pentagon.

Construction of the National Archives Building in Washington DC, 1934 In Washington after the riot, April 1968

In 1957, Washington became the first major city in the country with a majority of African Americans. The city hosted many events that played an important role in the struggle of blacks for equal rights, including the famous rally at the Lincoln Memorial 28 August 1963 years old when Martin Luther King gave a speech that began with the words "I have dream."

In the 1960s and 1970s, many members of the middle class moved from the central regions cities to suburbs. A certain role in this (in addition to the trend characteristic of that time for the whole country) was played by riots that erupted in April 1968 after the assassination of King in the "black" areas of Washington and quickly spread in the city. The riot lasted four days, to suppress it, President Lyndon Johnson sent troops into the city, then in the city thirteen people were killed and over a thousand wounded.

In 1973, Congress passed the DC Home Rule Act, ceding some of its power over the city to elected residents to the city council and the mayor.

In 1976, the first subway line was opened in Washington DC.


Learn more