Forest Hills Historic District

Bounded by Gervais St., Manning St., Forest Dr., and Glenwood Rd., Columbia, South Carolina


Heyward Singley House, 2555 Gervais St.

South Carolina Department of Archives and History

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The Forest Hills Historic District is significant as an excellent example of early twentieth-century planned suburban residential development. Forest Hills reflects suburban development trends dating back to “the era’s most notable experiment in planned suburban development,” Forest Hills Gardens on Long Island designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in 1909. The interstices of the City Beautiful Movement and the new vision of the Arts and Crafts Movement inspired efforts across the country to provide beautiful housing in a natural, park-like setting free from the ugliness, congestion, and unsanitary conditions of urban living. This was the vision pursued by developer Joseph Walker and landscape architect Harlan Kelsey in the first phase of Forest Hills’ development. Later phases of development followed the more traditional urban grid pattern that had well-established precedents in other early Columbia suburbs. Forest Hills is also significant for its association with a person of local importance. Joseph Walker, a Columbia cotton merchant and developer, acquired and developed the approximately 100 acres formerly known as Abney Park into Forest Hills. His vision for the land he acquired in 1925 is still evident today. And finally, Forest Hills is significant as an excellent example of trends in residential planning and architecture for the first half of the twentieth century as well as representing the work of masters in planning and architecture. The district contains 215 residences, a designed landscape with 9 “little parks,” and a historic monument dedicated to Wade Hampton, III that contribute to the historic character of the district. Thirty residences are non-contributing. The historic resources of the district date from 1903 to 1957. One residence predates the development of Forest Hills. All others properties were constructed after 1927. The district features excellent examples of Tudor Revival, Colonial Revival, Neoclassical Revival, Mission/Spanish Colonial Revival, French Renaissance, Craftsman/Bungalow, Western Stick, International, Monterey, minimal traditional houses, and homes with an Art Deco influence. Listed in the National Register September 28, 2007. - SCDAH

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on September 28, 2007
Reference number
Architectural styles
Late 19th and 20th Century Revival; American Movement
Areas of significance
Architecture; Landscape Architecture; Community Planning and Development
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
A - Event; B - Person; C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic functions
Single dwelling; Multiple dwelling; Park
Current functions
Single dwelling; Multiple dwelling; Park
Periods of significance
1900-1924; 1925-1949; 1950-1974
Significant year
Number of properties
Contributing buildings: 215
Contributing structures: 1
Contributing sites: 9
Non-contributing buildings: 30

Update Log 

  • October 14, 2014: Updated by Michael Miller: Added "GPS Coordinates", "Description" & "Street View" and Imported Photos
  • October 14, 2014: Photo imported by Michael Miller