A Short History of Forest Hills

Originally known as Whitepot, Forest Hills was bought from Native Americans for three white clay pots by Englishmen. Three hundred years later, Cord Meyer, whose name graces many parts of Forest Hills today, bought six hundred acres of land and bequeathed the name Forest Hills. They did so in reference to the fact that Forest Hills is the highest point for miles all around.

Three years later, one hundred forty-two acres of land from those original six hundred were carved out by Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage and built out into what is now known as Forest Hills Gardens. The architect of Forest Hills Gardens was Grosvenor Atturbury. An antidote to the cramped, crowded living conditions in the city, this new community was based upon the ideals of similar garden communities in England. Simply a residential community, none of the poison from industrial commerce was permitted.

The hallmark of the Gardens were Tudor and colonial style homes including many in the arts and crafts style. This remains today a distinguishing feature of Forest Hills Gardens, setting itself apart from other neighborhoods in New York City.

In 1911, the Long Island Railroad opened the Forest Hills station stop at Station Square. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Junior, Station Square was truly a masterpiece of cobblestone streets, elegant staircases, and raised walkways leading directly to what was at the time Forest Hills Inn, and a signature tower.

When our family arrived in the 1950’s the commercial strip was mostly parking lots, garages and auto dealers. Slowly properties were taken over and upgraded store by store throught the 1950’s until present into what is today a high traffic vialble shopping strip designed to not only provide the local population with many services, but as an international shopping and entertainment center to fill all tastes and needs.