Neighborhood History

In 2019, one of the neighborhood founders provided this information:

Why “Pleasant View Estates” subdivision almost never existed

By Dr. Bob McCollom

 

September 2019 DRAFT VERSION

Dr. Bob McCollom in California

 

I was 40 yrs. old when I started developing Pleasant View Estates east of the Air Force
Academy in the 1960s, so you can see I am really getting old. I was born in 1923. It really
hit home when Our Community News just had an article that mentioned the “aging
infrastructure” of the Academy Water and Sanitation District, which provides water and
sewer service to Pleasant View Estates. I was the one who had it all installed!
(See July 2019 issue of OCN, www.ocn.me/v19n7.htm#awsd.)  

 

I still have many memories of developing a ranch into a Beautiful Subdivision, but here
is the story about why there was almost no Pleasant View.......But I was determined to
make it a success.

 

I was a chiropractor in Davenport, Iowa for six years, and before that I was in the US Navy
for five years. When Georgia and I came to Colorado Springs in 1955, we lived built a
home on 20 acres at 4390 Ford Drive, near Shoup Road and Milam Road in Black Forest.
I started the home with $600 and a shovel. I started to dig in the barn with just a shovel. 
Just “Shovel and me” for a long time.  Later, I bought an old tractor and tumblebug (a tool
pulled by a tractor. Pull 1 lever it digs, when full pull another lever, it stops.), which was a
big help. The tractor was a 4 cycle International Harvester. It did not have much power, but it was a big help to finish the job.

 

If you see the person in my old home on Ford Drive, if he wants to know where the metal barn came from let me know  The metal barn came from Colo Springs .  It was given to me, in pieces, for helping Kenny Olson, a chicken farmer.  It was a garage for one of the car dealers in Colo Springs  It is a piece of Colo. Springs history.  I believe it was the Pontiac dealer who wanted it removed and gave it to him for hauling it away.  Olson knew I was looking for a barn.  He had a large truck loaded and brought to me in many pieces I sorted it out put it together and I used it for many things.  I assume it is still there. (Working on getting 2019 photo.)

 

Plus I would like to tell him about the septic tank. It didn’t have a leach field, it wasn’t done right then.  If he doesn’t know I would like to tell him.  I don’t recall who put it in but I hired someone.  I know where he put it but that is about all.  He should know.

 

The trees around Circle drive came from western slope. Brought them home in small buckets and planted them around the drive. I would love to see how big those trees are now. (Working on getting 2019 photo of same spot).

 

Fast forward: (See real estate brochure with Laura Spear as broker associate. 4390 Ford Drive, $425,000 on 5.23 acres, built in 1955. Remodel in in 1998.)

 

Here’s just one thing to think about.  Every bank in Colorado Springs said it was impossible to develop Pleasant View as no one would buy “out there,” so far away from Colorado Springs.  None of those banks would help me. That was their thinking.  So none of them would give me a loan.

 

(Fast forward: Now Pleasant View Estates is bordered Stella Drive, Fox Run Regional County Park, and Roller Coaster Road. Neighboring developments now in 2019 include Sun Hills, Gleneagle, the Ridge at Fox Run. It is also the boundary between School districts 20 and 38.

 

I wanted all our children in District 20. Took a bit of doing to get the boundary lines drawn, but I got it done.

 

Also remember the (Fox Run Park property) used to belong to me, but I traded for property on the west, plus cash.  The property north of Stella use to belong to me. The Baptists owned the property west of my home on Stella Drive and Raton Road. I liked the views.  We traded plus giving them I think $15,000.

 

In January 1964, I incorporated “Mor-Mac, Inc.” real estate development company. It was a construction-development firm, and I was the sole owner. Ed Morast and I both paid $10,000 to George Hardesty for down payment on 435 acres. His ranch went all the way down to Interstate 25.

 

Let’s start at the beginning of MorMac.  The McCollom family, the Ed Morast family and George Hardesty family were members of the same Church. Nick Natalie was the minister of Black Forest Community Church.  George Hardesty told Ed Morast and myself he would like to sell the rest of his ranch and would make it easy for us. Best I remember Ed Morast put $10,000 down and so did I. We formed MorMac. Had to pay him $25,000 yearly  He would release for $600 per acre or $3000 for 5 acres. Ed could not keep up with me in walking around all the property since he was a smoker, so one day he said he wanted out.  So I bought him out. I can not recall the amount, but I paid him so now it was up to me. That’s basically the beginning.

 

One other thing.  Putting the S drive off of North Gate was an interesting experience. Those are bygone days.   It was the only way to get to the highway except via Rollercoaster Road. The 4 colonels (who were in charge of Sun Hills) and I got the road built. I maintained the muddy road w my road grader. What a difference to have AFA access instead of having to go the long way around. Sun Hills put that road in and I maintained it. They just sold the land.

 

By the way you will find where the Baptist road and Tari meet is zoned commercial.  I had plans for a restaurant at that location.

 

The streets Deby Drive, Tari Drive, and Becky Drive in the Pleasant View subdivision are named after my daughters. Stella Drive is named after George Hardesty’s wife.

 

I bet you can’t guess what I paid for the first culvert....600 bucks.

 

In June 1964 (??), The Baptist Assembly Camp almost burned down. 

No one helped me, but I was able to contain the fire by circling the

fire.  I almost lost my road grader in the fire. By the way they

(the Baptists) never said thanks, which I thought was strange. 

You can find a Story in the Gazette.  That would be sometime in the

1960s...As I recall it was on the front page. I kept that article

for a long time I still think it was on the front page.

(June 10, 1964 found evidence of article about fire in Gazette

Telegraph.?? But was on page 6. Hard to read online. Need better

copy.)

 

My first home in Pleasant View was at the corner of Stella Drive

and Raton.  It sold for $25,000 and I had to take a Trade in located

way down by Sears, it was a piece of junk house.

 

The address of that house is now (??) 15065 Sun Hills Drive. It

was an A-frame I built with a hammer and saw. The fascia board

goes from the peak of the roof all the way down to the eves in one

continuous board. A friend helped me do that. I don’t think you

can get boards that length now.

 

The idea I had for the silo was that I could use to for office No electricity as x (???) of building.  I had all the plans in my head to do it.

 

I was also inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and had plans in my head to build a house with water running through it. I never built that house by the spring, though.

 

The nearby well used by Academy Water and Sanitation District is only 40 feet deep. That’s the main well they use today!

 

There are a lot of natural springs in the middle of Stella Drive and Spring Valley Drive. The man building near there now should watch out for those springs.

 

Do you know how years ago Range Wars use to start years ago in Colorado?  I believe there is a good example in Pleasant View.  A rancher told me water was always a problem in Colorado and the Problems it started when one rancher thought another rancher was stealing his water.  My pond made me think of that conversation. Water is the key in Colorado.

 

I also had the idea to build an airport right there so that colonels from the Academy could fly their planes to work and home again. They could keep their airplanes at home and land at the Air Force Academy. I thought it was a pretty neat idea. One colonel was the original “Blue Angel.” He lived on Raton Road, the fourth house from the corner, I think.  But the cost of burying the power line along Baptist Road was just prohibitive in doing that project. I guess I was just dreaming.

 

Being located “so far out” from Colorado Springs was a big issue and extra expense. I could say the same for some suppliers such as concrete.  I do not recall how much extra I had to pay for concrete. Or any contractors would charge higher.  Complained about the distance.

 

The addition to the Sun Hills Drive house on top has a four-foot crawl space. It was extra expensive to get concrete delivered “way out” in Pleasant View. However, during building of the Air Force Academy, those supplying concrete would have extra concrete at the end of the day. Some of us in the Forest would contact these companies and provide a place to get rid of it. This crawl space is 4-foot high – I made contact with the concrete suppliers, but I was not home when the concrete came. The walls I built were not properly built or reinforced to hold concrete. So now they are very much out of shape – I came close to having a crawl space all made of concrete! The people who own the home now probably don’t know – their home has concrete that was left over from the AFA – go tell them! – tell them why the wall is not straight!

 

Fast Forward: See real estate brochure for same home in year ____. “Beautiful Ranch Home in Pleasant View Estates offered at $440,000 ) (Working on getting 2019 photo of house.)

 

Fast Forward: See magazine  - In 2012 the property with  17.40 acres, 5 minutes from north entrance to AFA, one of the last untouched parcels with a large finishing lake remaining in Black Forest, was on sale for $700,000 – with lake, stream, mature trees, and Pikes Peak views.  See p. 18 of Homes and Land of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region.

 

Are you familiar with the duplexes across the street from my old home on (Sun Hills Drive and Spring Valley Road)? I built them.  Did you have problems with the sewer?  I had hard time with the plumbing getting the line from the home to the street.  I found plumbers have a hard time learning water runs down hill.

 

By the way It is my understanding some people in Pleasant View are having disputes over property lines. It all depends where they start. The original survey was done by a Colorado approved company.  When he finished the job the North west corner of his survey that is Pleasant View was within inches of the original first survey done by the U.S. survey. It is on file with the water district (Academy Water and Sanitation).  He was very excited. I don’t understand the problem.  

 

Talking about lines. It is my understanding there is some discussion about stakes in the Subdivision. I hired a licensed surveyor.  Check the fire station. There are pictures of  different parcels of land I submitted to the county for approval. They were not easy to please.  When all the stakes were in, the surveyor told me the NW corner stake of Pleasant View was within inches of the original U.S . Survey stake placed by the Government many years ago – it is a brass plate in ground.  Go look, have fun but it is there at Stella and Rollercoaster Rd.  It all depends where you start. Cannot recall where one must start. The original Government round copper stake is but it is to the north and east. Looks to me some one is trying to make waves.  All stakes are legal unless they have been moved. 

 

I am 96 years old, will be 97 in Feb. 2020

 

That’s enough for you to think about.

 

If you run out of things to write about let me know you might be surprised of all the stories I can still recall. 

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I sold my X-ray machine and used the money to buy the road grader which I used to put in the roads for Pleasant View.  Pearal Role (what?) who kept the county roads graded taught me how.  My bulldozer work was basically self-taught. 

 

I had no employees and owned all my own machinery and equipment.  That’s what I used to develop Pleasant View Estates.

 

Finally I found some to give me a short-term construction loan.  Kassler & Co. would give me a loan for those I built, in 1967.  So, as you can see the banks in general in the beginning were of very little help.. 

 

According to Associated Credit Bureaus of America, Inc. document from The Credit Bureau of Colorado Springs, Inc., 1964, “It is reported to be the closest subdivision to the main buildings to the Air Force Academy. The road to the subdivision begins at the North Gate Road to the Air Academy. It was announced that large country estates of five acre tracts and homes in the $25,000 class and up were planned for the area.”  

 

See photo from Pleasant View looking southwest toward the Air Force Academy showing not one house in Sun Hills. Can you see the road? This photo was taken by my niece Rita Von Saken – note NO HOMES.  (See below)

 

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