The City of Forest Acres was incorporated in 1935 due in large part to the work of John Hughes Cooper (1885-1945) and James Henry Hammond (1885-1970).
Cooper grew up in a poor area of Williamsburg County and moved to Columbia to attend the University of South Carolina (USC) upon graduating from Kingstree High School. After college, Cooper attended the USC School of Law, graduating in 1910. He quickly became an influential and prominent local attorney, focusing his practice on defending poor and indigent clients.
Hammond was raised in rural Blackville, South Carolina and attended The Citadel in Charleston. He graduated from the USC School of Law in the same class as Cooper in 1910. Hammond quickly became successful in banking, business and politics. He was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1915 and to the South Carolina Senate in 1927. He served as a state senator until 1934, and became known around Columbia as "Senator Hammond."
Cooper and Hammond both developed real estate interests in what is now the City of Forest Acres. Cooper purchased Dent's Pond (now Forest Lake) and 1,700 surrounding acres and founded the Forest Lake Club in 1923 with his brother Paul. Hammond purchased just over 67 acres of land from Cooper on Quinine Hill and developed the area as a suburban oasis for businessmen working downtown. Many of the streets in the area were named for friends and relatives of Hammond and his first customers (Troy Road, Valley Road, John Francis Court, Hanson Road, Verner Street, Beverly Drive, Quitman Street, Dalloz Road, Spencer Street).
Cooper and Hammond realized the value of incorporating during Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (renamed in 1935 as the Work Projects Administration - WPA) dedicated over $13 billion to funding public projects such as road and bridge construction. After learning that the WPA was scheduled to fund a road connecting Old Camden Road (now Forest Drive) to Two Notch Road at the request of the State Highway Department and that only incorporated local governments could apply for WPA funding, the two men held a meeting with the area's residents.
The two men circulated a petition amongst the residents and received the necessary majority of signatures. Cooper wanted to name the new municipality Forest Acres. Hammond preferred Quinine Hill. To settle the debate, the name was voted on by signers of the petition. Cooper's idea won the majority, and the City of Forest Acres was born.
The original boundaries of the city were one-half mile to the north and south of Old Camden Road, 1,000 feet east of Gills Creek and two miles west just beyond Quinine Hill. The population of the city at the time of incorporation was 375. Cooper was the city's first mayor, and was joined on council by William Rose, A.G. Dent and G.D. Huiet.
Since incorporation, the city has grown from two square miles to around five square miles and from 375 residents to almost 10,500 in 2012.