A free boxing match featuring heavyweight champ Jack Dempsey was staged in Forest Hills in 1926. The event was the idea of a savvy developer who staged the match in order to lure 10,000 prospective buyers to the area. Soon, though, the Florida land boom turned bust and not even the area's lush golf course and plush clubhouse could attract buyers.
In 1949, the golf course was purchased by another sports legend, golfer Mildred "Babe" Didrikson Zaharias, and her wrestler husband, George. The couple worked to return the clubhouse to its former glory until Babe fell prey to the first symptoms of the cancer that would take her life in 1956.
The Babe Zaharias Golf Course is today owned by the city of Tampa and provides a park-like center for the middle-class suburban community carved from the north Tampa woodlands. The golf course winds through the neighborhood, giving a rural feel. The presence of birds and other wildlife add to the illusion that the city of ampa is far away.
Cost of Housing
The predominant architectural style in Forest Hills is the vintage 1950s and '60s Ranch. The cost of housing in the area is about $130,000 for a basic, single-family home with 1,100 square feet of living space on a small lot. Prices are expected to go up – citywide, median home prices in Tampa jumped more than 35 percent in the last two years.
Forest Hills is served by The Hillsborough County School District. Most of the schools in the area are rated average by state scoring standards. But the district offers a variety of magnet schools that focus on the performing arts, technology, environmental studies and other courses of study. Blake High School, a performing arts school is within reasonable driving distance of the neighborhood.
Private schools include a nearby Catholic school, the Jesuit High School for boys.
Take a short drive east on Fowler Avenue and visit the Museum of Science and Industry. MOSI, as its known, is the largest science center in the Southeast, encompassing 254,000 square feet and 65 acres. Nearby Lowry Park Zoo is among the top-rated mid-size zoos in the country and features 41 acres of lush, natural habitats.
The University of South Florida, located just across the street from the MOSI, offers everything from intercollegiate athletics to concerts and a community lecture series that has included such speakers as filmmaker Spike Lee, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Watergate journalist Bob Woodward.
Forest Hills is located just about nine miles away from downtown Tampa. Easy access to Interstate 275 makes even rush-hour commutes seldom take longer than 20 minutes. Shopping, dining and Tampa's largest shopping mall are all minutes away.