By Bruce T. Marshall
Shaker Heights achieved international renown in the early 20th century as an enclave for wealthy residents—a city of stunning homes, substantial green space, an excellent school system, and attentive municipal services. Cleveland entrepreneurs O. P. and M. J. Van Sweringen established Shaker Heights as a haven from the stresses of city life and claimed a connection with previous residents of this land, the North Union settlement of Shakers. Shaker communities sought to create paradise on earth by living communally and focusing on the life of the spirit. Buyers in Shaker Heights were assured that their paradise would last forever because of restrictions on what could be built and who could live there. Nevertheless, Shaker Heights has changed from a protected environment for the wealthy to a stable, integrated city that intentionally promotes diversity in its population. This is a remarkable story of dramatic change but also continuity as residents pursue the goal of creating an ideal community.
Arcadia Publishing, 128 pages.