NH: 1926 Forest Hills Expansion

Uplands’ Beginnings

NH-1926ForestHillsExpansion

View from Iron Mountain Trail 1947.

A few miles from the iron deposits discovered by Matthew Patton, iron was found on a mountain eventually named after the ore it held. Today’s Iron Mountain was part of Henry Prosser’s Donation Land Claim. In the 1860s, about a decade after establishing his Donation Land Claim, Prosser abandoned his wife and family. In the divorce decree the land was awarded to his wife, Mary, and their son, George Washington Prosser, who later became a prominent civic leader. Mary Lorenz recalled the Prosser Iron Mines, “That was called the old mine place, the Pomeroy House. And this was on what is part of the country club golf course. It was a huge farm with caves where they mined ore. They were huge caves, several of then that went back into the ground. And as youngsters, we used to go down there and play. And when mother found us going into the caves, we got a spanking for it.”

Forest Hills, one of the Ladd Estate Company’s most prestigious districts, encircled the golf course and many streets were named after famous courses in the United Kingdom such as Westward Ho, Wembley Park, Glen Eagles, and Prestwick. A trailhead at Glen Eagles Road leads to a mine road that traverses the southern face of Iron Mountain. The road, constructed in 1867, is one of the oldest in Oswego. Initially ox carts hauled ore to the furnace along this route. A narrow-gauge railroad replaced the oxen in 1877. Atop this mountain Berwick Wood and his wife, Alice, built a home in 1928. Berwick was the son of Charles Erskine Scott Wood, the famous poet, attorney, and artist. Berwick’s daughter Marian became a well-respected photographer. Architect Ernest Fanning Tucker designed the home that commands such sweeping views that the adjacent property was used as a lookout for planes during World War II.

On another ridge, flanked by spectacular views of the country club on one side and the lake and Mt. Hood on the other, architect Van Evera Bailey sited the Thaddeus B. Bruno House. This 1939 Moderne style house features curves throughout including a curved glass-block exterior wall and a bar hidden behind a curved sliding door.

Following World War II multi-acre lots appealed to families desirous of a country lifestyle with a town close at hand. One of the first post-war homes in this area is the O’Connor House. Inspired by John Yeon’s Northwest Regional Style of architecture, Marian and Frank O’Connor designed their own home. Frank, an avid polo player, built the stable in 1946, one year before the home. About a decade later lots were still available. Cyril A. and Helen M. Woods bought property on Crest Drive in 1955 for $1,500 and hired Schuyler Southwell, a local architect and builder. The high cost of construction prompted Cyril to exclaim, “How can a door cost $34.00?”