In September 1950, 32 families purchased 31 acres of hills, woods, fields and orchards on the site of the McGillicuddy Farm in historic Tappan, NY, and began construction of this cooperative community. Many, but not all of the families had lived a cooperative lifestyle in what had been army barracks in Camp Shanks, Orangetown, New York. They were WWII veterans, graduate students with young families. They had energy and idealism, but not much money.
They cleared the land themselves for the house sites and for the road through the property which was named Hickory Hill Road. To save money, each family contributed 8 hours weekly of self-help labor, working on whichever house was under construction.
Each house was positioned to best fit into the rolling terrain and to provide its residents the best view of the countryside. The original Hickory Hill house is a classic one-story, with plentiful windows and a full basement, designed for easy expansion. Most of the homes have been enlarged, and whereas the original design of all of the houses was the same, they are now very different.
Three acres of land were set aside as community-owned property.
Anticipating their needs as their families grew, homeowners in Hickory Hill purchased an adjoining parcel of land in 1981 on which a 30 unit Condominium development, including a community house, was constructed, around a meadow, and its winding road was named Hickory Hill Lane.