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Brief Biographical / Historical Sketch

History

The Garden Club of Forest Hills (GCFH) was founded in April 1923 as the East Edgewood Acres Garden Unit when a group of women interested in growing flowers met at the home of Mrs. Walter R. Woodward on Newport Road for the purpose of organizing a Garden Unit. The club consisted of twelve members at the time of its founding. A representative of the Home Economics Extension Service of Allegheny County assisted in its organization. Between 1923 and 1926, the East Edgewood Acres Garden Unit became a branch of the Allegheny County Unit of the National Farm and Garden Association.

The East Edgewood Acres Garden Unit would be re-established in 1929 after a meeting at the home of Mrs. Linus Anderson on Brinton Road. The first meeting of the reorganized East Edgewood Acres Garden Unit took place on March 6, 1930.

In May 1930, the word “East” was dropped from the club name, becoming the Edgewood Acres Branch of the Women’s National Farm and Garden Association. This name continued to be used until 1938, when the club’s current name, The Garden Club of Forest Hills, was adopted.

In 1934, the GCFH was instrumental in the Forest Hills Borough Council’s purchasing 26 acres for a community park—it also was instrumental in hiring architect Ezra Stiles to design the park. GCFH assumed the responsibility for planning and planting the entire park. In 1935 the Club became affiliated with the Pittsburgh Civic Garden Center; this affiliation would last until 1997.

During the war years (1941-1945) the Club encouraged citizens to plant victory gardens, gave instructions on vegetable gardening, and supplied seeds for those purposes. The Club donated trees and funds for the Blue Star Memorial Highway for deceased members of the Armed Forces.

In honor of the United States’ bicentennial in 1976, the Club presented the Borough of Forest Hills with a Franklinia tree (a “Liberty Tree”), which was planted at the entrance of the Forest Hills grove. In 1978, it donated to the landscaping design project of the Senior Citizen’s Building. The Garden Club of Forest Hills was in charge of planting, financing, and the supervision of that area until 1982, actions that earned the club the state award. Through the years the club contributed trees and plantings to various areas throughout Forest Hills.

Yearly projects have included planting and maintaining an area around the flag pole at the Forest Hills pool, teaching gardening to children at Woodland Hills Junior High School, fundraising for the Pittsburgh Civic Garden Center, participating in flower shows and participation in environmental community studies, help for teachers, supporting scholarship funds, and providing educational programs for its members. Members have planted and maintained gardens in Forest Hills Park and in the Ardmore Boulevard median strip over several decades.