by Carl Vest
Over the years a number of local community names have been common on South Hill. Some examples include such labels as Firgrove, Puyallup Heights, Kupfer’s Corner, and others. Generally they have been used by local folks to give a sense of location and as a way of directing others to specific places. Many have become well-known and identified in numerous records and several can be found in data bases about South Hill. But a few that were once widely used are now less recognized, except during interactions among old-timers who reminisce from time-to-time. Such is the case of a place known as Floyd’s Hill.
Floyds’ Hill is located in an area that has had a number of names. In the 1930s and 1940s it was known as The Rabbit Farms. That name is reasonably renowned and has been placed on many maps and in a number of legal records. But the same area has also been known as The Highlands. That name was a common designator in the 1960s and 1970s. Even today there are specific places that incorporate the word Highlands into their names. Of the two, The Rabbit Farms tends to be the best known and most used in modern conversations and writings.
The Rabbit Farms (Highlands) can be portrayed as being located on each side of 122nd Street East on South Hill (historically, 122nd Street was known as Main Street). The geographical length extends from about 110th Avenue East to its intersection with Shaw Road. In depth, the development extends about three blocks on either side of 122nd Street. The Rabbit Farms perimeter is difficult to define as the project was never registered with Pierce County and thus does not have an official boundary.
Floyds’ Hill is located at the eastern end of the Rabbit Farms. Most of west-east 122nd Street through the Rabbit Farms is flat. But at the eastern end, at about present-day 120th Avenue, there is a significant change in the landscape, on the south side --- a considerable rise of about a hundred feet. That’s Floyd’s Hill.
Floyds’ Hill was so-named because of several families who lived there: Temple and Frank Floyd resided near its top and Don Floyd‘s family lived near the foot. In the 1960s this area was relatively undeveloped and so the location was somewhat isolated. It was a perfect place for Rabbit Farm youngsters to congregate and play with the Floyd children and others. In the winter, it was especially attractive during snowfalls as it was then a great place to go sledding. Many who grew up in the Rabbit Farms remember the place as a destination for local kids and specifically recall playing winter sports there.
There are no markers on 122nd Street showing Floyd’s Hill. The name cannot be found on any map and does not exist in most common data bases. But the place is real in the minds of many older residents on South Hill and especially those who grew up in the Rabbit Farms.
Carl Vest, PhD, is a founding member and Research Director for the South Hill Historical Society.