The neighborhood is disproportionately home to the upper-middle class, of whom the wealthiest often live in the Forest Hills Gardens section. Historically, Forest Hills has had many Jewish residents. Originally, the area was called Whitepot. The development of adjacent Forest Park began in 1895.
In 1906, Brooklyn attorney Cord Meyer bought abutting land made up of six farms (those of Ascan Bakus, Casper Joost-Springsteen, Horatio N. Squire, Abram V. S. Lott, Sarah V. Bolmer, and James Van Siclen) and then renamed the aggregated 600 acres Forest Hills. In 1909, Margaret Sage, who founded the Russell Sage Foundation, bought 142 acres (0.57 km2) of land from the Cord Meyer Development Company. The stated plan was to build good low-income housing and improve living conditions of the working poor, but the resulting huge property values made this claim totally impractical.Grosvenor Atterbury, a renowned architect, was given the commission to design Forest Hills Gardens. The neighborhood was planned on the model of the garden communities of England. As a result, there are many Tudor-style homes in Forest Hills, most located in Forest Hills Gardens. There are some Tudor homes outside of the Gardens.