Forest Park is Springfield’s most historic and most populous neighborhood. It is the home of many historic houses, the “X” commercial district and the esteemed Forest Park.
Forest Park is elevated from the surrounding neighborhoods to the North. Down the hill from Forest Park are the three neighborhoods of The South End, Six Corners and Old Hill which form the Northern border of the neighborhood. I-91 forms the Western border. The suburban town of Longmeadow is located south of the neighborhood and East Forest Park is located to the East.
In the Cozy Corner section of FP you’ll find Queen Anne style mansions along Longhill road, single and multi family Victorian style houses tucked away on side streets as well as Apartment complexes lining Sumner Avenue. Sumner Avenue Elementary School is located in FP’s Cozy Corner section.
The X is a commercial district and the crossroads of three of Forest Park’s busiest streets (Sumner Ave, Belmont Ave, Dickinson St). The intersection at The X is in the works of being reconstructed to be safer for both drivers and pedestrians crossing the busy streets.
Bueno Y Sano, Wild Olive Pizzeria and Pho Saigon are among the neighborhood’s most popular restaurants. The neighborhood is primarily inhabited by small businesses and the largest retailers are Food Zone International Supermarket and Walgreens. The Walgreens in this neighborhood is the only 24 hour Walgreens in Western Massachusetts.
Forest Park Heights and Belmont Heights are located on the western half of the neighborhood and are both home to many multi family Victorian houses and apartment buildings.
The Southern part of the neighborhood is home to Springfield’s largest and most famous park. Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States at 735 acres. Some of the park’s amenities include:
- A zoo
- A lake
- An ice hockey rink
- Basketball courts
- Tennis courts
- Baseball diamonds
- An amphitheater
- An aquatic garden
- Beach volleyball courts
- Swimming pools
- Many picnic areas
- Rose Gardens
- Walking/Biking trails
Forest Park is frequently the host of birthdays, weddings, field trips and all types of special events. Admission for pedestrians and bikes is free and for cars is $3.
Starting in the third week of November, the nationally acclaimed Bright Nights display opens for business and lasts through all of December until the first week of January. The 2 mile long lighting displays honors the works of Springfield’s very Own Dr. Seuss who resided in this neighborhood. Seuss resided at 74 Fairfield Street which is now the site of the Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum. Bright Nights was a COVID-19 friendly attraction before COVID-19 began due to all attendees driving through in their car. Attendance for the 2020 season is expected to be very high.
Forest Park was designed by famous architect Fredrick Law Olmsted in 1893. At 735 acres, it is Olmsted’s second largest work behind Central Park. Olmsted can be credited for many famous parks including previously mentioned Central Park in New York City and Mount Royal Park in Montreal. Much of the land for Forest Park was donated by wealthy philanthropists.
One of the donors of the land for Forest Park, Everett Barney left behind a mansion on top of a hill with views of the Connecticut River and the Metro Center. After the construction of I-91, the mansion had to be torn down but the servants quarters can still be visited today as an event venue. A tomb with a sphinx statue near the houses serves as Blarney’s final resting place.
Forest Park is one of Springfield’s largest and most historic neighborhoods. It has been a home to diverse families from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds in the city known as the “City of Homes”.