Forest Hills, was developed by Cord Meyer, a lawyer and developer and philanthropist Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage.


The Dutch originally colonized New York, shortly afterward in 1652 a group of Englishmen from the Massachusetts Bay Colony came and settled in the Dutch colony. They founded a town they called Newtown, which included Whitepot, which later became Forest Hills. There are two legends that surround the origin of the name Whitepot or Whiteput. The first being The Dutch had named it for the hollow or pit, "put" in Dutch, that was formed by a dry river bed in the area. The second legend is that the land was sold to settlers by the {\b local Indians} for three white clay pots.

In 1664 when New Netherlands surrendered to the British by the then Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant the named was changed to New York. The Whitepot school built in 1739, located at Woodhaven and Hempstead Swamp Road. (now Yellowstone Boulevard) was the first school in Newtown. During the Revolutionary war Newtown was a British stronghold until the peace declaration of 1783. General Howe's headquarters was on what is now Queens Boulevard in Newtown and his troops were encamped around the area (see buried treasure).

In the late 1800 's, Samuel Lord, an Englishman and the founder of Lord & Taylor was one of the major landowners in Newtown. Although he went back to England, he wanted to keep his Newtown properties intact. In 1893 shortly after his death, the properties were bought by Cord Meyer, a Brooklyn attorney. Meyer developed the village of Newtown, he brought in gas, electricity and built a bank. Newtown Village was then renamed Elmhurst.

In 1906 the Cord Meyer Development Company purchased 600 acres in the section called Whitepot. These 600 acres consisted of six farms which belonged to Ascan Bakus, Casper Joost-Springsteen, Horatio N. Squire, Abram V.S. Lott, Sarah V. Bolmer and James van Siclen. Meyer named the area Forest Hills, as it was adjacent to Forest Park and also the highest point in the area. Cord Meyer Development Co., brought in public utilities and built 340 house north of Queens (then Hoffman) Boulevard.

1908-09 The Cord Meyer Co. sold about 150 acres south of the railroad lines to the Russell Sage Homes Foundation, Margaret Olivia Sloan Sage the head of the foundation envisioned a model community of beautiful tree-lined streets and small parks, with housing for all: the wealthy, "the middle class" trades people and blue collar workers. The development of Forest Hills Gardens becomes so expensive that the original idea to include homes for the "lower class" was scraped. Mortgages were offered, but the minimum monthly payments of $25 could only be afforded by upper or middle income families. The architects chosen were Grosvenor Atterbury and his partner John Almy Tompkins and landscaping was left up to Olmstead Brothers Landscape Architects (nephews of Frederick Law Olmstead the designer of Central Park.) Rigid restrictions and building specifications were set to preserve the character of Forest Hills Gardens. Building were to be in stone, brick or cement in Tudor or Georgian styles, the roofs red tiles or slate.

In 1909 the LIRR is electrified and Forest Hills becomes a scheduled stop (see the first commuter), it is now a twenty minutes ride to Manhattan. 1910, Cord Meyer dies. the Russell Sage home Foundation and the Cord Meyer Development Company build a luxurious train station at a cost of over $40,000 to fit with the building of Forest Hills Gardens.

As lots were sold, mortgage terms made clear that investors wanted only individuals who could afford a monthly payment of at least $25 a month, ensuring a community of higher-income residents, of "moderate income and good taste," the brochure said.

The West Side Tennis Club located at 238 th St. in Manhattan was looking relocate. In 1913 the Sage Foundation Homes entices them to Forest Hills.

In 1922 the Sage Home Foundation sold their shares in Forest Hills Gardens to Forest Hills Gardens Corporation an association of the property owner of Forest Hills.

1996 The Forest Hills Gardens Corporation still owns all of Forest Hills Gardens including the streets, through which they allow New York City traffic and in exchange New York City does certain maintenance and garbage pick-up. Since the streets are private there is no parking unless you have a Forest Hills resident sticker. So beware they boot cars.

Austin Street and Continental Avenue are well known shopping areas with fancy boutiques, bookstores, cafes, excellent restaurants and even a its own Disney Store.

Metropolitan Avenue has retained its villagelike shopping area with about a half dozen antique stores and interesting restaurants




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