As a result of many months of work by neighborhood groups, led by the Frederick Douglass Community Improvement Association, a 20-square block of Anacostia has been designated a historic district by the Joint Committee on Landmarks of the National Capital, and will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That means that in several weeks, a large number of Anacostia residents within this area will be eligible for funds from federal and local agencies, including the National Park Service and the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development, to renovate their homes and shops. Private corporations are also pitching in. For example, the Neighborhood Housing Partnerships now has an agreement with Home Federal Savings and Loan to provide as much as $1 million in mortgages to Anacostia homeowners.

The Anacostia historic district includes Cedar Hill, the home of Frederick Douglass, and Uniontown, the city's first suburb, founded in 1854. In addition, Griswold's subdivision - an area begun in the 1880s and noted for its large homes and gabled architecture - is now a part of the district, along with the blocks of homes surrounding these sites. The Good Hope Road business district was not included, but community groups intend to use the historic designation to encourage renovation there as well.

The residents of Anacostia are determined to preserve the best parts of their community, change the area's image and seek public as well as private funds for other improvements. We think that's an excellent approach.