It has been a year of great wrenching and division in the District. The mayor was tried on drug charges and convicted of one count; the school superintendent was fired; a budget crisis emerged; and once again a record number of people were slain. But it was also a year of community solidarity -- rallying behind anti-drug patrols, park cleanups and preservation efforts. It was a time to celebrate a cathedral; to mourn the death of a friend of the homeless; to march forward into a new era in city politics. Reverberations extended into every neighborhood.
Residents and business leaders, seeking to control the proliferation of restaurants in their community, asked the city in August to limit the size and number of new eateries there with a tough new policy on liquor-license approvals. The proposal is still before the ABC Board.
Four-hundred residents living near the 12-acre Meridian Hill Park, also known as Malcolm X Park, organized in June to restore the vandalized and neglected 78-year-old federal park. They have since held a community cleanup and planted trees and flowers. The National Park Service also has increased maintenance there.
Despite a last-minute threat of cancellation over unexpected costs, Washington's Hispanic community held its 20th annual Latin American Festival in July on the Mall with a scaled-down event that drew an international crowd of 60,000.
Clarine Collier Watson, a 27-year-old office manager, was fatally stabbed on Lanier Place NW while returning home from work one evening in early December. She was walking with her 10-year-old daughter and carrying her 3-year-old daughter when she was attacked. Neighbors reacted with fear and outrage. Friends responded by raising funds for her funeral and for her children's care. Anacostia
Business people and environmentalists began a campaign in April called Stop Trashing the Anacostia Today (START) to clean up the polluted Anacostia River and to create a recreational park along the river banks someday. Benning
Seth Wilder, 88, died 12 days after he was attacked in his home by a robber who apparently followed him home from the bank and up to his bedroom. The murder outraged the Toll Gate neighborhood where he had lived for 40 years.
Residents squared off in May with preservationists of the Art Deco Society of Washington over the 48-year-old Senator Theater on Minnesota Avenue NE, which the community wants to see replaced with a needed shopping center. The city agreed in September to protect only the theater's facade and lobby, and not its 880-seat auditorium. The society is suing the city. Bloomingdale
The Crispus Attucks Museum and Park of the Arts, after years of struggle following cuts in staff and funding, suffered heavy damage in a fire in July believed to have been started by children who were playing.
The Bloomingdale community saw its favorite daughter, Sharon Pratt Dixon, come from behind and win the election for mayor in November with a vow to clean house. Dixon was a 1961 graduate of Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School and received a law degree in 1968 from Howard University.
Residents who wanted to see land for a neighborhood park set aside near the 25-acre McMillan Reservoir filed a lawsuit against the city in July to stop plans for commercial development at the site. In December, several developers issued plans for the site that included recreation facilities for the neighborhood. Capitol Hill
A splinter group of residents and merchants of Eastern Market emerged in April to oppose a planned expansion and renovation of the cherished landmark. In August the group garnered the support of the U.S. Department of the Interior, which ruled that the changes would be prohibited without federal approval because federal preservation grants were used to restore the market. Now half of the city-backed board that came up with the plan has retreated as well.
Police stepped in early one morning in July to stop an advertising firm from installing an illegal billboard in a historic district after vigilant Capitol Hill residents called police to report that workers had arrived at the site at 3:30 a.m.
Because of dwindling enrollment, aging buildings and funding cuts, Bryan and Giddings elementary schools closed at the end of the school year. Cathedral Heights NW
Almost 200 years of dreams and labor came to a close in September with the lowering of a 1,000-pound carved stone that completed the construction of Washington Cathedral before a crowd of thousands. Columbia Heights NW
Residents and civic groups continued to fight off the openings of more shelters for the homeless in their neighborhood. In April, the community, which has about 40 group homes, also forced the headquarters for the Coalition for the Homeless out of an office it had set up on residential Sherman Avenue NW.
The closing of a longtime Safeway store at 14th Street and Park Road NW rekindled a 10-year-old debate among a developer, the city and the neighborhood over the fate of the old Tivoli Theater across the street from the site where Safeway Stores Inc. wants to rebuild. Congress Heights SE
In October, Friendship Elementary School received a new name: The Patricia Roberts Harris School, in memory of the longtime District resident who was the first black woman appointed to a U.S. Cabinet and ambassador posts as well as the first black American woman to become U.S. delegate to the United Nations. Deanwood
Because of dwindling enrollment, aging buildings and funding cuts, Carver Elementary School closed at the end of the school year. Dupont Circle
The District's Jewish Community Center, a stately four-story, 65-year-old building at 1836 Jefferson Place NW, was officially returned in September to the growing Jewish community in the city. The center, which bought back its property from the city for $2.3 million, moved to Rockville 22 years ago.
Riggs National Bank announced plans in May to raze a block of historic buildings abutting Dupont Circle to make way for a seven-story office complex. The announcement came a month after residents protested the bulldozing of a half-block of 19th century row houses nearby for a planned 10-story apartment building.
Thousands of men and women celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride Day in June with the largest crowd in its 15-year history and a parade that wove along 17th Street NW to Dupont Circle.
Residents of the 1700 block of Swann Street NW held a festive party in September and tied yellow ribbons around trees on the block in a gesture of support for one of their own: Pfc. Grant Aiken, 20, who grew up on Swann Street and was one of hundreds of District military men and women sent to the Persian Gulf. Foggy Bottom
A group of residents, dissatisfied with its local Advisory Neighborhood Commission's approval of three major developments and its support of a homeless shelter, mounted a successful effort to unseat a majority of the six-member commission in November.
A federal judge rejected a petition in February by Watergate apartment owners and other residents trying to stop D.C. officials from operating a shelter for homeless men in seven trailers in their neighborhood. Georgetown
The controversial rebuilding of the Whitehurst Freeway began in December. During renovation, the 41-year-old elevated highway has only two lanes open with alternating one-way traffic, while two ramps to Key Bridge are closed.
Several citizen groups formed Trees for Georgetown, raised $20,000 and did what the city had been unable to do: fill 90 empty tree spaces.
After threatening to reduce patrols on Georgetown streets because of overtime costs, police reinstated the patrols and successfully held down summertime crime along the M Street NW corridor of night spots. Increased patrols and a decision not to close the streets also kept the crowds orderly during the annual Halloween street party.
Washington's oldest house and one of the city's few surviving early stone buildings, the old Stone House museum, celebrated its 225th anniversary.
Georgetown University's plans to build a larger power plant angered some residents who told a D.C. Council committee studying bonds for campus expansion in October that the facility was a threat to health and to the environment. The council approved the bonds in December. Judiciary Square
Tenants moved into the first residential building to go up in this century along Pennsylvania Avenue between the Capitol and the White House. The 150-unit Pennsylvania at Sixth Street and Indiana Avenue NW is part of the federal government's 16-year-old master plan to renovate "America's Main Street" and return housing to the city's oldest neighborhood.
The D.C. Council, eager to promote housing development downtown, agreed in December to a height exemption for a planned 130-foot-high development on Pennsylvania Avenue near the FBI building. It marked only the second departure from a 1910 law, limiting heights to the width of the street plus 20 feet. LeDroit Park
The city ruled in December that the only park in the community, situated on the eastern edge of Howard University, could be turned into a three-level parking garage for Howard University Hospital employees. Lincoln Heights
Patricia Holt Braswell, a teacher at Kelly Miller Junior High School and a 21-year employee of the D.C. schools, was chosen in September as the National Council of Negro Women's outstanding educator in the mid-Atlantic region. McPherson Square
A massive construction excavation cave-in at 14th and H streets NW in November closed nearby streets and buildings and limited electricity and telephone service in the area for several days.
Preservationists hailed a major victory in March when the D.C. Court of Appeals stopped plans to tear down the historic turn-of-the-century Woodward office building in the Fifteenth Street Financial Historic District. The decision was the first to use the city's historic preservation law to overturn a demolition order issued by the mayor. Mass. Ave. Heights
Residents of the neighborhood with the most expensive homes in the city sought special zoning in June, prohibiting developers from leveling wooded lots or steep hills without city permission. A developer had leveled a wooded hill overlooking Rock Creek Park in the neighborhood to build seven brick mansions. The zoning commission is now considering such protection for all neighborhoods. Mount Pleasant
Residents and business owners in August credited retiring Washington police Officer Bonnie O'Neal's community work with a dramatic drop in neighborhood crime. O'Neal reported to the department that she had logged in 960 hours of overtime during her Mount Pleasant stint and was reassigned two months before her retirement. Mount Vernon Square
Washington's Metropolitan Community Church congregation held a historic groundbreaking in July at Fifth and Ridge streets NW. It marked the first time that a gay organization in the United States, and possibly the world, began building a house of worship from the ground up. Northeast
The notorious 300-room Capital City Inn on New York Avenue NE was demolished in September by its owner after it had served as a city shelter for the homeless for seven years. Another longtime shelter, the 50-room Pitts Motor Hotel, closed earlier and was boarded up, after the city decided to place more homeless families in apartment-style buildings.
A new Boys and Girls Club opened in October in the midst of the crime- and drug-scarred Montana Terrace public housing complex to serve the 400 children living there. The club is the first to be established in a public housing complex in the city. North Michigan Park
After months of wrangling with preservationists and the community, officials of the Hospital for Sick Children agreed in July to save the hospital's original 1930s building on Bunker Hill Road NE. A wing built later will be destroyed to make room for an 80-bed addition. Palisades
The 50-year-old Children's Museum, an eclectic collection of mostly international toys and artifacts, received an order in September from the National Park Service to change or move out of its home on MacArthur Boulevard NW. Park officials said the museum should address either history or environmental issues. Museum officials acquiesed and were given until Jan. 1 to come up with a new plan. Petworth
Because of dwindling enrollment, aging buildings and funding cuts, school officials announced in May that Petworth Elementary School will close in June 1991. Reed-Cooke
The neighborhood association was successful in lobbying the D.C. Zoning Commission in April for a ban on commercial development in its largely residential streets. The area is considered a hot real estate market because of its proximity to trendy Adams-Morgan restaurants and shops. River-Terrace
Potomac Electric Power Co. abandoned its plans in October to add two power generators at its Benning Road NE plant after strong protests by neighborhood groups and environmentalists. Shaw
A $5.6 million Howard Theater renovation project was unveiled in November, promising new vitality for the nation's first major showcase for black performers and the troubled neighborhood around it.
Because of dwindling enrollment, aging buildings and funding cuts, school officials announced in May that Langdon Elementary School will close in June. Another neighborhood school, Garnet-Patterson Junior High School, will close in June 1992.
In early November, Metro pushed back its scheduled Green Line opening of three new stations from Dec. 1 to May 1991, further frustrating businesses and residents disrupted by the subway construction.
Six days before Christmas, five children, one of them a 6-year-old girl, were shot in a drive-by shooting in the middle of the afternoon at the corner of Fifth and O streets NW. Witnesses said the neighborhood was crowded with pedestrians, including many children returning from school, when a gunman in a passing car opened fire. Shepherd-Park
After a successful effort by the community to bring "Books Not Burgers" to their neighborhood, a new city library opened in July at 7420 Georgia Ave. NW, a site where a Wendy's restaurant had been planned. Near Southeast
Despite a gunman's threats in April, the Oakwood Coalition's citizen anti-crime patrol declared that it would not be frightened off and remained on the beat in the Orange and Oakwood streets neighborhood. The number of such patrols, sometimes aided by Nation of Islam and Guardian Angels groups, doubled to 75 during the year, police said. Near Southwest
Riverfest, the city's premier summertime festival scheduled for two days in early June along the Maine Avenue waterfront, was canceled in May. In its six years, the festival had grown to cost the city more than $400,000 annually and upset merchants who claimed that they lost money because massive crowds limited access for regular customers.
The National Park Service closed Hains Point in May to cars on weekday and holiday afternoons because traffic in the popular area had become gridlocked along three-mile Ohio Drive. Stanton Park
Mega Foods, National Bank of Washington and Fantle's drugstore all closed in the struggling H Street NE shopping corridor -- a microcosm of these deteriorating economic times -- and shook the confidence of other merchants. However, new owners bought Mega Foods and reopened the supermarket in November. Tenleytown
A group of homeless men taking shelter at the entrance of the Metro station led some residents this fall to ask Metro to install a gate to lock them out. Others in the community disagreed; Metro said that it would study the proposal. Trinidad
Because of dwindling enrollment, aging buildings and funding cuts, Hamilton Junior High School closed at the end of the school year. Upper Northwest
Rock Creek Park, the world's largest natural urban park, turned 100 years old in September. Washington Highland
Washington Highland School at Eighth and Yuma streets SE was renamed Ferebee-Hope Elementary School this summer in honor of physician Dorothy Boulding Ferebee and 1950s social worker Marion Conover Hope.
D.C. Police Chief Isaac Fulwood Jr. visited a gymnasium on Livingston Road SE in November to launch a basketball league called "Late Nite Hoops" in one of the city's toughest areas. The sports activities are designed to keep young men off the streets. Wesley Heights
Horace Mann Elementary School was designated in May as one of 221 "blue ribbon" schools in the nation and cited for its educational excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. Woodley Park
A $10 million renovation began in February of the aging Duke Ellington Bridge to transform it from the city's number one suicide site to an inviting community meeting place equipped with piped-in jazz music in honor of its namesake District native. Congress intervened when some residents objected to the city tearing down the suicide barriers that were paid for in part with federal dollars, and ordered that public hearings be held before this is done.
Compiled by Elisabeth McAllister; designed by Eileen Tetreault -- The Washington Post