This house is special. A number of years ago, my grandmother, Virginia Petersen, gave me a a trash bag full of beat-up scrapbooks. They were her photos from roughly 1942-1960s. Over the years, when I’ve had time, I have slowly started to piece them back into the correct order. It’s been quite a task. One thing my grandma did, that has been a blessing, was labeling most of the photos. She even took the time to take photos of her homes and write down the addresses! This was a huge stepping stone for this project.
In her scrapbooks, I have pictures from approximately 5 homes. A prominent home featured in the photos was the house on 3322 Blondo Street. Grandma was in her teens when the family moved there. Most of the photos were taken out side in the yard, garden, and by the front porch. My favorites include many scenes of my grandmother standing next to flowers, and prized vegetable plants.
This home in many ways has been the epicenter of my “grow your roots” project. Sadly, the home itself no longer exists. When I started researching this property, I truly hoped something remained. After extensive, Google Earth investigations, I determined there was indeed no house there. But! Something did catch my eye in “street view” image of the lot. A little tiny sign that read “Community Garden Coming Soon.” My heart skipped a beat. Was this true? I felt a bit of warmth come over me thinking how my Grandma Pete and Great Grandma Hanson would probably love this. Sure enough, I did some more searching and came across a city plan that included the address in a neighborhood plan. It was listed as a site to become a community garden. I was so excited.
The Prospect Hill neighborhood, as it’s called, has seen some better days and is looking for revival. The City of Omaha has taken on the challenge by building community gardens. I contacted the city department of development and planning and was put in touch with someone close to the project. She confirmed that the lot was used as a temporary community garden, but that a nearby church had bought the lot and a house was being rebuilt on the site. The fate of the house and property seemed fitting, even if there is absolutely nothing left of its original life.
The fate of this house is likely the fate of many of my ancestral homes. In many ways it is sad to see nothing remain, but it is also interesting to see its evolution. At least I have some photos!
3322 Blondo Street has an interesting past. Like all my projects, I take it back to the patent holder.