Matt About Town: Explore the little-known history behind DC’s oldest, original cherry blossoms

Uncover the history behind DC's oldest cherry blossoms at East Potomac Golf Links

What if we told you D.C.’s oldest cherry blossoms aren’t the ones at the Tidal Basin — or any of the usual spots?

In today’s episode of “Matt About Town,” WTOP’s Matt Kaufax put on his golfing shoes — to head to a secret location in Southwest D.C., where you can find a little-known slice of history.

You might be familiar with the story of Japan’s 1912 gift of cherry trees to the U.S. That shipment makes up the trees that millions flock to in places like the Tidal Basin and Hains Point in the nation’s capital every spring.

But it’s a little-known fact that the 1912 shipment of cherry blossoms was actually a regifting, a do-over of sorts from a previous shipment gone wrong, which came over from Japan two years before in 1910.

As Ranger Mike Litterst with the National Park Service told Matt, that shipment had to be burned. All trees were lost … except a small batch that hardly anyone knows about today.

But why did those first trees need to be destroyed? Why the secrecy? And is it possible to see D.C.’s oldest cherry trees today?

Come along with Matt on his latest adventure to find out!

“Matt About Town” airs every Tuesday and Thursday on WTOP, and runs throughout the rest of the day on 103.5 FM. His video pieces are always posted on

You can also find Matt’s videos on Instagram (@wtopnews and @mkaufax) and TikTok (@wtopnews and @mattabouttown_).

If you’ve got an idea for a feature story Matt should cover, reach out via the WTOP “contact us” page to submit your idea.

You can also contact Matt directly. His contact information is listed below. 

Check out more of “Matt About Town” on WTOP.


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Matt Kaufax

If there's an off-the-beaten-path type of attraction, person, or phenomenon in the DC area that you think more people should know about, Matt is your guy. As the features reporter for WTOP, he's always on the hunt for stories that provide a unique local flavor—a slice of life if you will.

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