Vintage landscape: the tree sellers

For ev’ry year the Christmas tree,
Brings to us all both joy and glee.

Bring on the holiday season!

The Christmas tree sellers, via D.C. Public Library“View of street vendors at 7th and B Streets, NW [Washington, D.C.] (ca. 1880 [sic]),” by E.B. Thompson, via D.C. Public Library Commons on flickr.

B Street, N.W., was the original name for what is now Constitution Avenue (since 1931). At the time of this picture, Center Market stood on B Street, between 7th. and 9th. Streets — at the current site of the National Archives building.

Commenters on the flickr page have suggested — correctly, I think — that the 1880 date is wrong and the photo was probably taken in the first decade of the 20th century.

O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Much pleasure dost thou bring me!

— from c. 1910 English version of O Tannenbaum

Vintage landscape: painting the cherry blossoms

Painting the cherry blossoms, Wash., DC, c. 1920“An artist seen painting the Cherry Blossoms along the Tidal Basin,” Washington, D.C., by E. B. Thompson. The photo is undated, but was possibly taken in the 1920s. Via D. C. Public Library Commons on flickr.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., will begin next week on Wednesday, March 20, and will continue through April 14.  Click here for more information on events and local accomodations.

The National Park Service is predicting that peak bloom (70% of the flowers open) will occur March 26 – 30.  The average date for peak bloom is April 4.

[ADDENDUM: The Capital Weather Gang blog at The Washington Post is departing from the NPS prediction.  They believe that the peak bloom will come between April 3 and 7.]

Here’s another lovely hand-colored photograph of the Tidal Basin from about 1920.

Tidal Basin, Washington, DC, c. 1920The photographer is unknown; the image is via the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

The cherry trees along Washington’s Tidal Basin were a gift from the Japanese government 101 years ago, so they would have been about 10 to 15 years old at the time of these photos.

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

— A. E. Housman, “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now