Forest Hills home

Forest Hills

The Forest Hills neighborhood is one of the oldest in Durham and one of my favorites, in fact, I’ve owned two homes there. In 2005, Forest Hills was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The neighborhood was laid out in the 1920s by architect George Watts Carr, Sr. around a nine hole golf course that is now Forest Hills Park. Colonial, Tudor, and English Cottage homes, soon filled the forested hills only a few blocks south of downtown. Development continued after World War II, with newer homes following the tradition of quality design of the original Forest Hills development in more modern styles.

Forest Hills has a much more urban feel than Hope Valley, another historically important neighborhood. A busy thoroughfare, University Drive, splits the neighborhood north and south. At one time the widening of University Drive was widely anticipated as evidenced by a second row of oaks set back from the street on the south side of the park. However, the extension of I-40 to Chapel Hill and the Durham Freeway to I-85 has taken the pressure off and left the street more to local traffic. Still, it’s enough to let you know that you are in the city. Other pleasant sounds contribute to that ambiance.

The park is the site of frequent pick-up soccer games and an ultimate Frisbee league that is organized enough to have its own website. The thock thock of tennis balls on the public courts can often be heard late into the night. The park clubhouse and shelter host numerous events. A train whistle is often heard on quiet evenings. On early mornings in the fall the drumbeats of the NCCU Marching Bank float over the neighborhood from the campus that is just south and east. On summer evenings you can often also hear the sounds of fireworks coming from the DBAP after Bulls games. The banks of the creek running through the park where purposely let to go “natural” a few years back to provide a stream buffer and encourage wildlife.

During one of therare heavy snowstorms several years ago a beautiful crane stood in the snow field adding to the unusual event. An access point to the American Tobacco Trail was built by the city where it passes through the neighborhood. The Trail is an abandoned railroad right-of-way that was developed for hikers and bikers that runs from the American Tobacco Campus to Research Triangle Park. Homes in the neighborhood range from the very grand to quite modest with an interesting mix of styles. Turnover is slow and people desiring this neighborhood often have to move quickly to acquire the home that they want.

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