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First Ladies and Cherry Blossoms

Every spring, the National Cherry Blossom Festival commemorates the 1912 gift of 3,020 cherry trees from Mayor Yukio Ozaki of Tokyo, Japan, to the city of Washington, D.C. This cherished tradition has deep historic ties to the White House and the nation’s first ladies, beginning with First Lady Helen Herron Taft.For over twenty years, writer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore, known fo


Patricia Nixon's Visitor Friendly White House

Not long after she became First Lady, Pat Nixon was asked what she planned to focus on in her new role. Her response was simple: “People are my project.”1Mrs. Nixon did not want to be constrained by selecting one specific project. Instead, she wanted the latitude to pursue various projects that directly helped people.As First Lady, Mrs. Nixon trav


White House Pigeons

As any visitor to Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. will tell you, pigeons are a universal feature of the environmental landscape surrounding the White House. One reporter even designated the park across from the White House “almost as famous an abode for pigeons as St. Mark’s Square, Venice.” For many years, however, “carrier” pigeons transported messages for many miles, in


Raccoons at the White House

Many people consider raccoons to be pests and nuisances. These nocturnal mammals are often found rummaging through trash cans, dumpsters, and alleyways, looking for anything of subsistence. Their scavenging can be quite vexing to property owners and tenants, who are left to clean up the messes they leave behind. The staff of the White House and the National Park Service