Forest Hill is a residential neighborhood in the North Ward of Newark, NJ that was listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places in 1990. It encompasses approximately 1,200 mostly single-family homes of varying architectural styles that range from medium to large to manor-sized. The homes in this historic district were mostly built between the 1880's and the 1920's. Historic designation means the home has special historical, cultural, or aesthetic value and is an important part of Newark's heritage.
History of Forest Hill
The late Charles Cummings, the noted Newark City Historian, described Forest Hill as an architectural and residential jewel. Forest Hill continues to inspire old and new residents alike with its perfect mix of suburban and city living.
Lying to the east of Branch Brook Park, an Essex County park and the first county park in the United States, Forest Hill is one of Newark’s most attractive and elegant neighborhoods. It was developed between 1880 and 1925 through the efforts of two great families, the Hellers and the Clarks. These families lived here, built their great homes here, and served as captains of industry in 19th Century Newark. While the exact boundaries of the district have changed slightly over the years, it is essentially bounded by Second Avenue on the south, Verona Avenue on the north, Branch Brook Park on the west and Mt. Prospect Ave. on the east.
Some of Newark’s best-known architectural landmarks are found within the boundaries of Forest Hill.The Ballantine Gates entryway to Branch Brook Park was a gift from Robert F. Ballantine in 1899. Across from the Gates, on Lake Street, are two identical homes built by the Whitehead family. The Beaux Arts mansion of Wallace Scudder, founder of the Newark News, is located on Parker Street; it is the only building of that style in Forest Hill. On Abington Avenue is the Victorian home that once belonged to the Reverend William Hayes Ward, a prominent civil rights activist. And world-famous opera soprano Madam Maria Jeritza lived on Elwood Avenue in a four-building compound until her death in 1982.
At 346 Mt. Prospect Avenue is the William Clark mansion, now home of the North Ward Center. The Sydenham House, located on the “Old Road to Bloomfield” and built in 1712, is the city’s oldest privately-owned residence. D.J. and Elizabeth Henderson rescued and restored it in the 1950’s. This residence is one of the oldest residential dwellings in the entire New Jersey-New York region. The Sydenham House and the Clark Mansion are considered so unique and important to the City of Newark that they are also individually listed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.
Forest Hill has a long history and is becoming one of the most sought-after locations in Northern New Jersey. With over 1,200 homes in the historic district, Forest Hill features a wide variety of architectural styles showcasing the splendor of the area and its rich history.
A quiet neighborhood nestled against the first county park in the United States, it is minutes to a night at the symphony at NJPAC, a concert or hockey game at the Prudential Center, an art opening at one of Newark’s many galleries, and dinner and drinks downtown. Forest Hill is the perfect escape for quiet evenings at home while offering access to everything the region has to offer.
A commuter’s dream, the neighborhood is just 10 miles from NYC and surrounded by major highways and transportation hubs and serviced by an international airport. Easily accessible by public transportation, the area is a destination for those looking for space, commutability and affordable living. Forest Hill boasts three light-rail stations that connect to Newark Penn Station and Broad Street Station, allowing access to NYC, shore points and anywhere in between. Commuting to NYC is a breeze with an average travel time of only 30 minutes.
In Branch Brook Park, the cherry blossom capital of the US, there are more than 5,000 cherry blossom trees – even more than in Washington, DC! Just steps from the Forest Hill neighborhood, the park has vast open spaces and offers many recreational facilities including ballfields, a 20-court tennis complex, an indoor roller-skating rink, new children’s playgrounds and a visitor center. During the Cherry Blossom Festival each spring, thousands of visitors are drawn to the park to enjoy multi-cultural performances, music and displays, and it hosts bicycle and road races.
With all this, Forest Hill must be experienced to be believed!
Forest Hill Historic District Nomination Report: Reproduced here is the application filed in 1990 with the State of New Jersey and the Federal government nominating Forest Hill to be designated as a historic district. The application contains descriptions of every building in Forest Hill that is included in the nomination. Various attachments are also included.