Greenhills -- in Hamilton County, south of Fairfield -- was one of three communities planned and built by the federal government during the Great Depression of the 1930s. Several demonstration villages -- described as pedestrian-scaled garden cities -- were proposed, but only three materialized. Others built were Greenbelt, Md., and Greendale, Wis.
Congress approved Greentowns Program funding April 8, 1935, and April 30 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order and appointed Rexford G. Tugwell to direct the program. The communities also were called "Tugwell Towns." Dec. 6, 1935, Tugwell approved purchase of 106 tracts of farm land in Springfield Township, totaling 5,930 acres and costing $1.6 million. Total cost would reach $11.5 million.
Construction started Dec. 16, 1935, and the first families moved into Greenhills April 1, 1938. A one-bedroom apartment rented for $18 a month and a four-bedroom house for $42. Each of the towns was supposed to be surrounded by a greenbelt of woods, at least a half mile wide. For Greenhills that greenbelt is Winton Woods County Park. As a flood control project, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers formed an 183-acre lake southeast of Greenhills in Winton Woods. Of the 5,930 acres, about 530 was within Greenhills, 2,045 in Winton Woods and 3,400 later sold to the Warner-Kanter Corp. for development of Forest Park. The Greenhills Home Owners Corp. bought the village property from the federal government in December 1949 for $3.5 million.