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.


Do you know more about the above photo found in the The Washington Post’s photo archives? Please let us know!

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.


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

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.


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


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


So. Much. Taffeta.


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

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.

Read more Retropolis: