Designed in 1912, Forest Hill is one of San Francisco's eight master-planned Âresidence parksÂ created as green oases within the city. It's no coincidence that Forest Hill resembles both the nearby Sea Cliff neighborhood and Bel Air in Los Angeles; all three of these communities are the work of one landscape architect, Mark Daniels, whose vision for lush, generous living was realized in several coveted locations throughout California. The boundaries of Forest Hill blend seamlessly into the Inner Sunset to the north, Golden Gate Heights to the west, and West Portal to the south, but it achieves a sense of remove with its grand entrance off of Dewey Boulevard, on its southwest side. Originally designed for horse-drawn carriages, the neighborhood's streets are double the normal width, adding to the sense of grandeur surrounding its green spaces and homes, several of which were designed by the revered Arts & Crafts architect Bernard Maybeck. Yet in Forest Hill, master-planning does not mean homogeneity; the neighborhood also includes a number of fine modern homes, as well as excellent examples of all styles in between.
San Francisco's residence parks were explicitly designed without business districts, but Forest Hill is in close proximity to the beloved restaurants, cafes, bakeries, and shops of the Inner Sunset and, more immediately, those of West Portal. For a neighborhood designed to impart a feeling of separation from the city, Forest Hill also has excellent transit connections, with stations on the K, M, and L MUNI streetcar lines at both its northeast and southeast corners. To be within the city but feel apart from it that was the objective of San Francisco's residence parks. The results are even more appealing now than they were when ground was first broken more than one hundred years ago.