The peak bloom brings out thousands of sightseers beneath a canopy of cherry blossom branches along the Tidal Basin on April 9, 1944. (Photo by AP scanned from Post archives)

As hordes of residents and tourists celebrate peak bloom this week, here’s a look at some of the best cherry blossom photographs — from the 1940s to the 1990s — pulled from The Washington Post’s archives.


In this undated picture, a couple kisses on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building under a cherry blossom tree in full bloom. (The Washington Post) (The Washington Post Files/The Washington Post Files)

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The Evelyn David playhouse group performs American folk dances during the Cherry Blossom Festival on April 14, 1947. (Charles Del Vecchio/The Washington Post)

The Cherry Blossom Princess pageant was first held in 1948 as a way to spark good feelings toward Japan after the end of World War II. Below, the first Cherry Blossom Queen is chosen at random by the spinning of a wheel.

Doris Sheldon, at center with her hand raised, of Claimant, Del., acknowledges applause after she was selected queen of the Cherry Blossom Festival on April 8, 1948. (Photo by AP scanned from Post archives)

This photo ran in The Washington Post on March 28, 1947, with helpful photography tips: "Use your camera on a tripod if you would like to get a fine time-exposure affect like this one." (Tom Kelley/The Washington Post)


Dave Lawson was really up in the air in 1953 as he made this jump over his teammate, Navy Lt. Al Marland. Lawson cleared the ramp but took a spill a moment later. (Bob Burchette/The Washington Post)

Look at The Washington Post headline in the below photo of the audience at the 1954 Cherry Blossom Festival: “SENATE OK’S HAWAII, ALASKA.”

Festivalgoers and members of the media gather on the Mall during the Cherry Blossom Festival in 1954. (Harry Goodwin/The Washington Post Files)

Three Japanese girls take a stroll under the cherry blossoms at Washington's Tidal Basin on March 31, 1953. The girls are: Hiyoko Watanabe, right, her sister, Yasiko, left, and 5-year-old Motoko Sugiyama. (Photo by AP scanned from Post archives)

In 1959, Attorney General William P. Rogers, out of view in this photo, spun the wheel at the Cherry Blossom Princess pageant too vigorously, causing it to tip over, as young contestants gasped and scrambled away. After the wheel was repaired, the woman closest to the wheel, Arkansas’s Carolyn Marie Harris, was named the winner.

Cherry Blossom Princesses scream as the wheel of fortune being spun to select one of them as queen of the National Cherry Blossom Festival tips over on April 11, 1959. (Photo by AP scanned from Post archives)


First lady Lady Bird Johnson shovels dirt to plant a cherry tree near the Tidal Basin on April 6, 1965. (James H. McNamara/The Washington Post)

The clothing turned skimpier and groovier really quickly, but admiration of the cherry blossoms remained the same.

Cherry blossoms and miniskirts are in abundance around Washington's Tidal Basin as mid-80-degree temperatures brought out flowers and visitors on March 30, 1968. (Photo by AP scanned from Post archives)

Cherry blossoms ring Washington's Tidal Basin as a couple rides a tandem bicycle on March 30, 1968. (Photo by AP scanned from Post archives)


In 1970, D.C. Cherry Blossom Princess Linda Smythe became the first black Cherry Blossom Princess. Here she is on a parade float on April 12, 1970. (Margaret Thomas/The Washington Post)

Clowns from the Almas temple pass along the parade route at the Cherry Blossom Festival in 1973. (Joe Heiberger/The Washington Post)

Cherry blossoms trees have been a romantic place for couples through the ages, even before Instagram.

Jan Williamson and Dave Delenick picnic under a cloud of cherry blossoms in 1979. (Margaret Thomas/The Washington Post)


New Orleans architect Robert V. Bursik works on a 7-by-10 canvas of the blossoms on April 4, 1983. (Douglas Chevalier/The Washington Post)

Crowds sit on the wall and walk around the flower-studded Tidal Basin on April 8, 1984. (James M. Thresher/The Washington Post)

So. Much. Taffeta.

The Ana Airlines float cruises down Constitution Avenue during the 1988 Cherry Blossom Festival. (Dudley M. Brooks/The Washington Post)


Taffeta’s last gasp: The story of the early ’90s.

Washington's official Cherry Blossom Queen, Amy Margolius, 23, of Gaithersburg, Md., waves to the crowd from atop her float on Constitution Avenue, on April 9, 1994. (Annalisa Kraft/For The Washington Post)

Members of the Japan USA Friendship and Cultural Exchange Tour march while waving cherry blossom branches during the festival in 1994. (Annalisa Kraft/For The Washington Post)

Parting shot

The cherry blossoms have long been a symbol of friendship between the United States and Japan, but they are a great place to enjoy all sorts of friendships.

LEFT: Boys sit at the Tidal Basin in March 1953. CENTER: Isabel Bastin and Eileen Flinspach, from Bloomington, Ill., photograph the blossoms in April 1980. RIGHT: Two members of the Women's Army Corps sit at the Tidal Basin in April 1944. (Douglas Chevalier/The Washington Post; Larry Morris/The Washington Post; AP photo) (The Washington Post File/The Washington Post/AP)

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