Forest Manor is a northeast side neighborhood bounded by 38th Street, Hawthorne Lane, 30th Street, and Parker Avenue. The popularity of the automobile in the 1920s promoted the development of suburbs such as Forest Manor. In 1921, the Security Trust Company opened the area to middle-class commuters eager to build homes. Bungalows and cottages were constructed on the wooded lots and in two later additions.

A row of neat, cottage-style brick homes in a tree-lined neighborhood.
Homes on Forest Manor Avenue near 36th Street, 2021 Credit: Kara Chinn View Source

A neighborhood park was established in 1937 to meet the needs of residents moving out of the downtown area to what was then a suburban area. By 1953 Forest Manor was home to 15,000 people. African American families purchased homes in the neighborhood in the 1960s. Over the next few years, many white residents sold their homes and left. To ease tensions, Forest Manor United Methodist Church founded the Forest Manor Neighborhood Association in 1967. The group became an effective voice during the transition and later took on challenges such as an urban homesteading program and street resurfacing in cooperation with the city.

Hawthorne Place, a public housing project opened in 1968 providing 176 units of townhouse and duplex-style housing. To alleviate overcrowding in the area’s public elementary schools, Forest Manor Middle School was established for children in sixth through eighth grades.

In 1973 the Forest Manor Multi-Service Center was established to offer after-school programs, job assistance, a food pantry, and help for senior citizens.

Despite early successes, Forest Manor has faced problems common to many urban neighborhoods. Homeowners have been concerned about the area’s crime and building vacancies. Forest Manor Middle School shuttered its doors in 2009 as student enrollment dwindled, and the Forest Manor Multi-Service Center ceased operations.

Revised April 2021

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