After gold was discovered in Deadwood Gulch in 1875, commercial buildings were quickly erected on the flat land along Main Street, leaving the hillsides above as the only area for residential development. The first houses in Deadwood were built on the slope directly over Main Street in the spring of 1876. The neighborhood soon became known as Forest Hill. Williams Street was the first street to be built, followed by Centennial Avenue, which was named for the nation's centennial celebration on July 4, 1876.
The entire neighborhood had only one access to the rest of the town: Shine Street, a name local legend says evolved from "Cheyenne Street" uttered with a regional drawl. Shine Street remains the primary road into Forest Hill.
Since Forest Hill had a commanding view of the city and was close to Main Street, it became Deadwood's most fashionable neighborhood. W.E Adams, Mike Russell (who entertained Buffalo Bill in his home), Judge Granville Bennett and Badger Clark (South Dakota's poet laureate) were among its more notable residents. Most of the neighborhood burned in the Fire of 1879, although some homes survived. The house at 402 Williams was built before the spring of 1877, making it one of the oldest buildings in Deadwood.
The noise of the town below was a constant headache for Forest Hill residents. Estelline Bennet, author of the book "Old Deadwood Days," recalled listening to the bands playing in front of the Gem Theater from her house. Calamity Jane, literally roaring drunk, woke her one night from a sound sleep.
Hill has seen much restoration since the legalization of gambling in 1989. The 1904 Carnegie Library and the 1892 Gilmore Hotel (now apartments) have both been renovated. Retaining walls are continually repaired and replaced, although rock slides happen with some regularity.