The area now known as Forest Home was first settled in 1794, the earliest settlement in the area of Ithaca NY. The reason was waterpower. The fast flowing waters of Fall Creek powered numerous mills. Today the mills are gone but people still remember a time when Forest Home had shops, a school, even its own post office.
In 1998, members of FHIA were instrumental in having the central parts of Forest Home registered as the Forest Home Historic District.
We are fortunate that several local historians have recorded the changes from early industry to a residential hamlet, with photographs, memoirs, and historical essays. Here are some of their efforts.
- Bruce Brittain (1998), A Short History of Forest Home
- Albert W. Force (1954), Free Hollow: The First One Hundred Years of Forest Home
- Liese Bronfenbrenner (1974), Free Hollow to Forest Home
- Martha Warren Hertel (1979), The Path
- Martha Warren Hertel, Miscellaneous Writings
- Randolph Scott Little (2017), On Childhood in Old Forest Home
- Bruce Brittain (2017), Forest Home grew from mills along Fall Creek to a residential neighborhood
- Bruce Brittain (2019), History of the Byway
Another item of historical interest is a home movie of the 1935 flood in the hamlet, made by a member of the Bull family. Bruce Brittain has created a viewer’s guide to the movie, which was donated to the History Center and has been digitized and made available online. See Fall Creek Flood, 1935.
Additional information on the history of Tompkins County in general and Forest Home in particular is available at the History Center. Visit them online at www.thehistorycenter.net or in person at 110 N Tioga St, Ithaca, NY.