In the early 1960’s, real estate developer Slim Thornton saw the need for a community of acreages near the city of Omaha but truly “in the country”. He found such a site south of West Dodge Road and north of Pacific Street from Skyline Drive eastward to Highway 6. He envisioned the area to be populated primarily by horse owners and established an SID with one to five acre lots on a meandering, trail system which connected them to each other and a central corral and social center. It was named Skyline Ranches, and lots sold quickly. Covenants required larger homes which were allowed latitude in style and landscaping. Barns were encouraged, giving the entire community the rural ambiance that many were looking for. Currently acreage prices vary from the mid $200,000’s to $800,000, depending on lot and home size, and style.
At this time, the area is governed by the Skyline Ranches Property Owners Association whose official purpose is to: Maintain Grounds and Trail System with the Neighborhood; Provide Social (Horse Related) Events for Members and Guests; and Monitor Neighborhood Upkeep.” Property owners are assessed a nominal fee to provide for these services, which now include a rodeo arena complete with chutes and stock pens, a 4-H arena, a dressage course, a small fishing lake, and a picnic shelter and park which can be reserved by home owners for private events.
Chapel Hill is a separate community developed in the southwestern corner of the original site. With smaller lots and common setbacks, it provides a more suburban ambiance. It has its own property owners association, known as Chapel Hill and Rogers Ridge, and does not have access to the trail, corral, and park services provided by Skyline Ranches. Many homes are comparable to those found in Skyline Ranches with prices ranging from $150,000 to $250,000
Shopping, entertainment, restaurants, and public education are nearby for both developments. An Elkhorn Grade School is within walking distance of both communities while Valley View Middle School and Elkhorn South High School are a short drive away. Several parochial schools and churches of many denominations are located in Elkhorn as is a campus for the Metropolitan Community College.
Access to the West Dodge Road corridor and the Interstate system give this area easy access to the entire Omaha area.