Beech Hills was built in the 1950s, and was one of the largest federally constructed complexes designed as affordable housing for World War II veterans. At that time, most of Northeastern Queens was dotted with acres of farms and marshlands. When World War II ended, America was burgeoning with a growing economy, which drove infrastructure expansion. As a result, Queens was jettisoned into city-like dwelling and shed its remote small town atmosphere. Even back then, affordable housing was a priority for many as it is today, and the concept of cooperative living in garden style apartments was conceived.
Our Certificates of Incorporation reveal that when Beech Hills was established in 1951, it took several years to complete the entire construction for 816 residents. Upon completion, forty-three free standing-garden-style buildings were erected on forty-five acres of land along with garages, and playground areas.
The influx of new homeowners brought with it the need for new businesses, schools, houses of worship, and improved public works. During that time, the Long Island Expressway was non-existent and the main road to travel on was Horace Harding Blvd. Back then the Douglaston Golf Course (which borders our community) was privately owned and was known as the North Hills
To provide for the educational needs of children in the community, The Marathon School P.S. 187 (now a special needs school) came into construction. However, The North Hills School P.S. 221 (which was once a rooster and chicken farm), Louis Pasteur Middle School JHS 67 as well as the now local high schools, Van Buren, Bayside and Cardozo would not be built until much later.
A simple pleasure that we enjoy today, such as jumping in our car and driving two minutes to a local supermarket was unheard of in the 1950s. Shopping for food was an excursion and meant going to Springfield Blvd, which was the nearest ‘local’ shopping area. And, if you were traveling into Manhattan, it could take as long as one and a half hours since bus service was not frequent.
While the decades passed, the surrounding areas developed and thrived into a bustling cosmopolitan area. Yet in that time, Beech Hills managed to insulate itself and still retain its suburban-like atmosphere. To this day we continue to offer residents a safe, wholesome environment in which to live. Come Visit Us!