In 1951, OHA announced development of the projects on both the east and west sides of North 30th Street extending from Burdette south to Parker Street. Completely demolished in 2010, today the ultra-modern, mixed income Highlander neighborhood sits on the 15 acres once here, along with the Charles Drew Health Center. This article is a history of the Pleasantview Homes Public Housing Project in North Omaha.
Originally called the Near North Side Projects, it was changed to Parker Street Projects, then to Pleasantview within a year of it being announced. A popular Omaha architecture firm called Leo A. Daly Company designed the complex. The Pleasantview Towers was a 6-story, 51-unit apartment building, and the other 184 units in the Pleasantview Homes two-story buildings were spread across 14 acres. In late 1953, the minimum cost of project was billed at $3.1 million.
In August 1953, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Matzke became the first residents in the new six-story tower at Pleasantview. With 51 one-bedroom apartments, the tower was built for elderly people and two-person families without children. Mr. Matzke and his wife were elderly and owned “a simple home on a modest acreage” before they moved into the tower. When a fire destroyed that house and illness struck him, the couple were relieved to get a new apartment there. Mr. Matzke died in 1956 at age 80.
The original administration offices for Pleasantview were located at 1915 North 30th Street on the northwest corner of 30th and Parker. Voter registration and voting often happened there in the early years. In 1969, the Douglas County Hospital opened an outreach clinic in the tower at Pleasantview. Planned Parenthood maintained a clinic in Pleasantview from 1968 to 1982.
Scattered-site housing was introduced by the Omaha Housing Authority in the 1960s. These were public housing units spread into individual houses and not clustered in apartments. Two decades later, OHA became committed to their exclusive usage and the demolition of the projects.
In the 2000s, Pleasantview was completely demolished, as were the neighborhood Hilltop Projects in 1995. Within the next decade, the area where they both sat was recreated as an “urban village” designed to build on surrounding institutions like Salem Baptist Church, the Charles Drew Health Center, the Urban League and the Miami Heights neighborhood. Plans called for mixed-income and mixed-type housing, neighborhood services, and an intergenerational community center, and the Highlander neighborhood was built as a result.
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MY ARTICLES ON THE HISTORY OF ARCHITECTURE IN NORTH OMAHA
GENERAL: Architectural Gems | The Oldest House | The Oldest Places
PLACES: Mansions and Estates | Apartments | Churches | Public Housing | Houses | Commercial Buildings | Hotels
PEOPLE: ‘Cap’ Clarence Wigington | Everett S. Dodds | Jacob Maag | George F. Shepard | John F. Bloom
HISTORIC HOUSES: Mergen House | Hoyer House | Campion House | North Omaha’s Sod House | James Comey Mitchell House | Charles Storz House | George F. Shepard House | 2902 N. 25th St. | 6327 Florence Blvd.
PUBLIC HOUSING: Logan Fontenelle | Spencer Street | Hilltop | Pleasantview | Myott Park aka Wintergreen
NORMAL HOUSES: 3155 Meredith Ave. | 5815 Florence Blvd. | 2936 N. 24th St. | 6711 N. 31st Ave. | 3210 N. 21st St. | 4517 Browne St. | 5833 Florence Blvd. | 1922 Wirt St. | 3467 N. 42nd St. | 5504 Kansas Ave. | Lost Blue Windows House
HISTORIC APARTMENTS: Historic Apartments | Ernie Chambers Court, aka Strehlow Terrace | The Sherman Apartments | Logan Fontenelle Housing Projects | Spencer Street Projects | Hilltop Projects | Pleasantview Projects | Memmen Apartments | The Sherman | The Climmie | University Apartments
MANSIONS & ESTATES: Hillcrest Mansion | Burkenroad House aka Broadview Hotel aka Trimble Castle | McCreary Mansion | Parker Estate | J. J. Brown Mansion | Poppleton Estate | Rome Miller Mansion | Redick Mansion | Thomas Mansion | John E. Reagan House | Brandeis Country Home | Bailey Residence | Lantry – Thompson Mansion | McLain Mansion | Stroud Mansion | Anna Wilson’s Mansion | Zabriskie Mansion | The Governor’s Estate | Count Creighton House | John P. Bay House
COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS: 4426 Florence Blvd. | 2410 Lake St. | 26th and Lake Streetcar Shop | 1324 N. 24th St. | 2936 N. 24th St. | 5901 N. 30th St. | 4402 Florence Blvd. | 4225 Florence Blvd. | 3702 N. 16th St.
RELATED: Redlining | Neighborhoods | Streets | Streetcars | Churches | Schools
- “History of Prospect Village” by the City of Omaha
- “A New Day Arisen” by J.D. Avant written for Omaha magazine on June 7, 2017.