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Beech Hills

Beech Hills was built in 1951 and was one of the largest federally constructed complexes designed as affordable housing for World War II veterans. Architect Benjamin Braunstein used only twenty-two percent of the property for actual buildings, saving the rest for landscaping and play areas. 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 the 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.

It took several years to complete the forty-three free standing garden style buildings on forty-five acres along with playgrounds and garages. 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 Boulevard. The Douglaston Golf Course (which forms the southern boarder) was privately owned and called the North Hills Golf Club.

To provide for the educational needs of the children in the new community, The Marathon School P.S. 187, The North Hills School P.S. 221 (which was once a rooster and chicken farm), and Louis Pasteur Middle School/JHS 67 were built. Cardozo High School would be built twelve years later.

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 continuing to provide its residents a safe, wholesome environment in which to live.