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A Guide to Washington, D.C., Materials

Today In History

Japanese cherry blossoms. Japanese cherry blossoms with Tidal Basin and Washington Monument at night I.
Japanese cherry blossoms. Japanese cherry blossoms with Tidal Basin and Washington Monument at night I.
Theodor Horydczak, photographer, circa 1920-1950.
Prints & Photographs Division.
Reproduction Number:
LC-H812-T-B05-057 DLC

March 27

On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, planted two Yoshino cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. The event celebrated the Japanese government’s gift of 3,020 trees to the United States. Trees were planted along the Potomac Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.

April 16

On April 16, 1862, President Lincoln signed an act abolishing slavery in the District of Columbia, an important step in the long road toward full emancipation and enfranchisement for African Americans.

May 23

On May 23, 1865, the Army of the Potomac celebrated the end of the Civil War by parading down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.

May 24

On May 24, 1844, Samuel F. B. Morse dispatched the first telegraphic message over an experimental line from Washington, D.C. to Baltimore.

July 16

On July 16, 1790, Congress declared the city of Washington in the District of Columbia the permanent capital of the United States.

September 20

The United States Congress abolished the slave trade in the District of Columbia on September 20, 1850 as part of the legislative package called the Compromise of 1850.

October 10

On October 10, 1850, the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was completed and opened for business along its entire 184.5-mile length from Washington, D.C., to Cumberland, Maryland.

October 13

The cornerstone of the White House was laid on October 13, 1792.

November 1

On November 1, 1897, the first Library of Congress building opened its doors to the public. Previously, the Library had been housed in the Congressional Reading Room in the U.S. Capitol.

November 20

On November 20, 1866, ten members of the First Congregational Society of Washington, D.C. gathered in the home of Deacon Henry Brewster for a missionary meeting. While there, they resolved to establish a seminary for the training of African-American preachers. By early 1867, the founders had broadened their mission to encompass a liberal-arts college and university. Howard University was incorporated on March 2, 1867, and accepted its first students the following May.

December 6

On December 6, 1884, workers placed the 3,300-pound marble capstone on the Washington Monument, and topped it with a nine-inch pyramid of cast aluminum, completing construction of the 555-foot Egyptian obelisk.

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  July 30, 2010
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