When people move to North Michigan Park, they seldom move out. When they outgrow their homes, they build additions and make renovations, but they don't leave the District community, where they say people are friendly and civic-minded.

Lucille and Roger Brown have lived in the Northeast neighborhood nearly 35 years. When they wanted a change, they added a "day room" and a balcony with a glass door that allows them to look over back yards and down the hill to South Dakota Avenue.

"We did it after we retired," said Lucille Brown, as her husband, seated in a cozy chair, looked out the glass door. "We wanted a better view, but we didn't want to move."

There are just 1,600 houses in this community bordered by Gallatin Street on the north, 16th Street to the east, Buchanan Street on the south and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad tracks on the west.

Most of the houses are filled with longtime residents, but occasionally a house becomes vacant and a new family buys it. Some newer families joined the community as subdivisions were built in the 1980s.

"If a house is vacant now, it goes just like that," said Brown, snapping her finger.

Most of the streets of North Michigan Park are lined with brick, semidetached homes, but there is also a sprinkling of larger, detached houses. Because of the variety of structures, of old and new, "houses sell in a price range that goes from $110,000 to $190,000," said Eric Mercer of Murrell Realty. Office manager Gloria Owens described the community as "very stable and quiet, with homes that are still affordable."

"You can get some detached houses with nice, large yards, something unusual for the District," she said.

When the Browns moved in 1956, they saw children "playing everywhere," Lucille Brown recalled. "It was homey. It was a good place for children. It had a small-town atmosphere. There were lots of wooded areas then. The kids were able to climb trees."

Years have passed, their children are adults and many of the wooded areas are gone, but Brown said, "I still like it here. It's such a warm community. People work so well together. We have everything in this community you would want -- schools, a nice recreation center, a good civic association."

There is still the family day celebration each spring, as well as other activities, such as the Christmas baskets that residents fill with turkeys, fruits and vegetables and deliver to the community's needy. The North Michigan Park Recreation Center has a day-care program and a variety of activities for youth and seniors. There's also Providence Hospital, which offers health fairs and workshops.

Since the late 1960s, the North Michigan Park Civic Association newsletter, The Community Sentinel, has been distributed by block captains to each household. Offering birth and death notices as well as a forum for other announcements and news, it keeps residents in touch with each other and is another way of providing a sense of community.

Brown said about 75 people attend monthly meetings of the civic association. Led by the association, neighbors have united behind such projects as fighting a proposed overhead subway line in the neighborhood. As a result, Metro's Green Line will run underground, said Brown, a vice president of the civic association.

She also said there are no liquor stores in the area because neighbors banded together to fight the idea each time one was proposed. The neighborhood also fought plans by a fast-food restaurant to open on South Dakota Avenue. "We already have McDonald's there," Brown said.

When police identified a crack cocaine house in the community, an "orange hat brigade" was formed to patrol the streets. "Drugs are all over the city, but if our drug problem is not as prevalent ... it's partly because we work so hard at it," Brown said.

"That's what's so wonderful about this community. When there's a problem we band together," Brown said. "We also come together if someone has a fire or something, so we can help."

The signs of Catholicism throughout the neighborhood first attracted Joyce Goins, a devout Catholic, to North Michigan Park. That, plus the fact that there were plenty of play areas for her three children, and the low house prices, which she recalls were between "$18,000 and twenty-some thousand," when she and her husband, John, moved here in 1964.

Goins pointed out that her community is near "Catholic University, an abbey, the Franciscan monastery, the Shrine {of the Immaculate Conception} and Catholic seminaries and colleges. They used to call it 'Little Rome,' " she said, recalling that most of her neighbors were Irish and Italian Catholics when she moved in.

Though she has only attended one civic association meeting, her husband has held an office in the organization for about 25 years.

John Goins said the thicket of trees that used to stand across from their house drew him to the property, but "when I found out the community sticks together, that held me here."

The Goinses' trees have been replaced by new houses, and their street is a thoroughfare now, he said. But the association was successful in getting stop signs installed, and that has slowed down the traffic.

"People have appreciation for their property, so they tend to keep it up. They are constantly trying to do things to see that people don't destroy the neighborhood," he said.

The Goinses' youngest child, Geralyn, 24, has fond memories of growing up in the area. "There weren't many houses yet. We used to jump double dutch in the middle of the alley and ride sleighs down this big hill where the nuns had a house," she said.

Like the Browns, the Goinses still love their neighborhood. "I like the idea of living in the city -- to be able to use public transportation is a plus," said Joyce Goins. "A lot of things I'm interested in are right here.

"If I decide I want to go to the art gallery, it's no big deal. If my car breaks down, I catch the bus."