But on Saturday, Charlottesville appeared more contemplative than chaotic.
A group of more than 200 protesters - students, residents and others - then marched to another part of the University of Virginia's campus, where many in the crowd shouted at officers in riot gear forming a line.
On Aug. 12, hundreds of white nationalists - including neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members - descended on Charlottesville in part to protest the city's decision chose to remove a monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park.
Both groups have been given permission to demonstrate in separate sections of Lafayette Square, a shady park that looks onto the back of the U.S. president's residence. The far-right protest is being organised by Jason Kessler, who put together the last year's protest in Charlottesville.
Organizers of #OccupyLafayettePark, a civil rights group that holds nightly protests in the square, held up posters reading "Love America, Hate Trump" and "Defend The District From White Supremacy" just steps away from the White House.
The chance of that kind of spontaneous mayhem has led to weeks of planning between Washington's law enforcement agencies, which have developed proposals to guard marches leading to the rally and the rally itself, as well as deal with any confrontations that precede or follow it in the streets of Washington.
"Our goal is to prevent that from occurring". But that plan was abandoned when the union representing Metro's workers, predominantly people of color, made clear that they did not want to provide special arrangements for racists.
Numerous most prominent white supremacist leaders from last year's rally have suffered setbacks in the past year, a result of forceful counter-protests, a series of lawsuits filed against different white supremacist leaders, movement feuds and infighting, and, in one case, prosecution for domestic violence. Numerous planned community events will promote peaceful messages, including a gathering in honor of Heyer.
"This anniversary is also a time to look forward. You know, I'm happy that things didn't get out of hand", said John Mason, an associate professor of history at UVA.
NPR's Debbie Elliott reports that memorials have been planned throughout the week.
One year after the deadly white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia, the state's former Democratic governor said President Donald Trump failed to live up to the moment.
In a tweet over the weekend, Trump said he condemned "all types of racism and acts of violence". Peace to ALL Americans!' More than 1,500 counter-protesters plan to gather at various downtown locations, including in the same park.
Others said his tweet ahead of Sunday's rallies show that he again is playing "both sides". She later said the comments "had nothing to do with race or ethnicity".
"We've always acted as if black lives never mattered, as if people of color never mattered", Bro told Cooper on Full Circle.
Michael Shallal, a member of the D.C. chapter of the International Socialists Organization, one of the groups organizing the Freedom Plaza rally, said it was crucial for protesters to outnumber Kessler and his supporters.