History of Forest Hills

By Richard Heath

FOREST HILLS is the most complex area of Jamaica Plain. Transformed by transportation over two centuries of time, Forest Hills challenges the definition of neighborhood. About a mile long and a half-mile across, Forest Hills has been shaped by geography more than any other part of Jamaica Plain. It sits in a valley at the confluence of two streams flanked by two hills on which have been landscaped two Boston landmarks and American institutions: the Arnold Arboretum and Forest Hills Cemetery. The hills that channeled the streams also channeled transportation routes, beginning in 1806 with the Norfolk and Bristol Turnpike (today Washington Street).

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