The 1944-45 Survey of School-Building Needs of Cincinnati, Ohio, anticipated annexations of areas north and east of College Hill and predicted that, in view of population growth from such annexations, there would ultimately be need for a junior high school in northeast College Hill. Early acquisition of a suitable site was recommended. On September 23, 1946, the Board of Education designated property on the north side of North Bend Road opposite Lantana Avenue as the school site. This was part of the Crawford's Old Men's Home property, which had been left by John T. Crawford, a Civil War veteran. According to his will, this property was to be used as "an asylum and home for aged, indigent, worthy colored men, preference to be given those who have suffered the miseries of American slavery.”
On March 10, 1947, the Board purchased the tract at a cost of $20,000. The area acquired was figured at 13.594 acres. Because of the kind of institutional ownership, court action was necessary to clear the title and it was not until October 13, 1947, that the Board really owned the site. On September 27, 1952, the Board sold a small portion (approximately .096 acre) to the City at a price of $1,760. Since construction of a school on the site was in the indefinite future, on May 23, 1949, the Board leased of the property to the Public Recreation Commission. The Commission constructed four baseball fields, for immediate use. On April 11, 1955, the lease was absorbed into the contract between the Board of Education and the Public Recreation Commission governing joint development and use of properties between the two bodies and known as the ''Continuing Agreement.''
In 1962, the Survey of School-Building Plant Needs recommended that an elementary school for 500 pupils be built in the northeast College Hill area. (Underlying the recommendation was the assumption that the school would be constructed on the site originally intended for a junior high school, which, with the passing of years and the failure of extensive annexations, seemed no longer properly located for such a secondary school.) Trustees of the board were considering disposing of the remaining land and buildings of the Home. The structures of the Crawford's Old Men's Home were old and run down and practically no persons were being accommodated. Because of this, on June 8, 1964, the Board of Education designated the balance of the Crawford's Home property as the site for the proposed elementary school. On July 6, 1964, the Board accepted an offer of sale at $75,000. The area acquired was about five acres.
On July 6, 1964, Glaser & Myers & Associates, Architects, began designing the school with two kindergarten rooms, ten primary classrooms, five intermediate classrooms, one music classroom, one art and crafts room, one science classroom, one general purpose/resource center room, a combination cafeteria-auditorium, a gymnasium and auxiliary rooms. These facilities raised capacity from 500 pupils to 660. In setting up the size of the school, it was recognized that as the area east of the school became more densely developed, another elementary school would soon be needed somewhere near Winton Road.
Studies of the development of the former Crawford's Home site indicated that the school could be set back from North Bend Road and that a branch library could be constructed in front of it. The parking areas for the school and the play field would then be of use to the library also. On May 3, 1965, the Board of Education and the Public Library entered into a lease of land on which there was subsequently erected the Northern Hills Branch Library*. The Architects employed by the Board and by the Library cooperated to make the library building and the school building architecturally compatible.
Contracts for construction of the school were awarded July 6, 1965, totaling $983,102. On November 8, 1965, the Board named the school Pleasant Hill Elementary School. Pleasant Hill was the name used for what is now College Hill when the area was platted about 1820 by William Carey and Jabez Tunis. In 1832, Freeman G. Cary began a boys' school called Pleasant Hill Academy. The Academy became Farmers' College and later the Ohio Military Institute and now Aiken High School. Pleasant Hill Elementary School was substantially completed by September 1966, at which time it was first occupied.
Prepared in 1966 by Cincinnati Board of Education for the Pleasant Hill School dedication booklet. *Now the College Hill Branch Library