History of Forest Hills

Forest Hill and Rego Park historical chronology

General Howe Camped here in 1776

Excerpt from a Forest Hills historical sketch. By Jeff Gottlieb.

The First Commuter

Walter E. Drummond, a bank clerk in Manhattan, purchased a home at # 3 Portsmouth Place in 1907, and became Forest Hills' first commuter. He induced the Long Island Railroad to sell him a monthly ticket with the provision that it would be honored at either the Elmhurst or the Richmond Hill stations both equidistant from his home. When he left the office at night he "would take a squint at the wind." If it was blowing hard he would get off at Richmond Hill so that the wind at his back would push him up, but if the wind blew from from another direction he would alight at the Elmhurst station.

As more people were attracted to Forest Hill, the railroad mad it a flag station and put up a shanty. Early residents still recall the many time the engineer failed to see their hand signals when small boys had stolen the flag.

Local Native Americans
By Jeff Gottlieb (an excerpt)

Local indian tribes, belonging to the Algonquin linguistic segment and being of Leni Lenape background, were generally friendly. The large tribal grouping south of the Newtown Creek and west of the present-day West Queens, cementary area were the Canarsee. The Rockawegs inhabited most of Queens, although I feel that the Matinecoc, with their burial ground being on a rise above the Douglaston shopping center, occupied more of Queens than historians presume.

One particular Indian contribution was the use of their language: Kissena meant cold water; jameco, the local dialect for heaven; while Paumonok was their descriptive name for Long Island.

*I want to thank Mr Gottlieb for permision to use this and other materials that he wrote.

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