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Shaker Heights is a city in Cuyahoga Countymarker, Ohiomarker, United Statesmarker. As of the 2000 Census, the city population was 29,405, making what was the tenth-largest city in Cuyahoga County. It is an inner-ring streetcar suburb of Clevelandmarker that abuts the city on its eastern side.



Shaker Heights is located at . According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.3 square miles (16.4 km²), consisting of 6.3 square miles (16.3 km²) of land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of water.

Shaker Heights is roughly 1,050 feet (320 m) above sea level, and is located about six miles (10 km) inland from Lake Eriemarker. Shaker Heights is drained by the Doan Brook watershed, and has several small artificial lakes: Horseshoe Lake, Green Lake, Lower Shaker Lake, and Marshall Lake.


Shaker Heights has a humid continental climate (Koppen climate classification Dfa), which is similar to much of the midwest United Statesmarker. This climate has very warm, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. The Lake Eriemarker shoreline is very close to due east-west from the mouth of the Cuyahoga Rivermarker west to Sanduskymarker, but at the mouth of the Cuyahoga it turns sharply northeast. This feature is the principal contributor to the lake effect snow that is typical in Shaker Heights weather from mid-November until the surface of Lake Erie freezes, usually in late January or early February. Seasonal totals approaching or exceeding are not uncommon because Shaker Heights is found in an area known as the "Snow Beltmarker", extending from the east side of Cleveland proper through the eastern suburbs and up the Lake Erie shore as far as Buffalo, New Yorkmarker. Despite its reputation as a cold, snowy place in winter mild spells often break winter's grip with temperatures sometimes soaring above 68 °F (20 °C).

The all-time record high in Shaker Heights of 104 °F (40 °C) was established on June 25, 1988, and the all-time record low of −20 °F (−29 °C) was set on January 19, 1994. On average, July is the warmest month with a mean temperature of 71.9 °F (22.2 °C), and January, with a mean temperature of 25.7 °F (−3.5 °C), is the coldest. Normal yearly precipitation based on the 30-year average from 1971 to 2000 is 38.7 inches (930 mm).

Climate Table
  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum record temperature (°F) 73 74 83 88 92 104 103 102 101 90 82 77
Minimum record temperature (°F) -20 -16 -5 10 25 31 41 38 32 19 3 -15
Mean daily maximum temperature (°F) 33 36 46 57 69 77 81 79 72 61 49 37
Mean daily minimum temperature (°F) 19 21 29 38 48 58 62 61 54 44 35 25
Mean daily temperature (°F) 26 29 38 48 59 68 72 70 63 52 42 31
Mean monthly rainfall (in) 2.48 2.29 2.94 3.37 3.50 3.89 3.52 3.69 3.77 2.74 3.38 3.14


Shaker Heights is one of Greater Cleveland's older inner-ring or "first" suburbs, and borders Clevelandmarker, Cleveland Heightsmarker, University Heightsmarker, Beachwoodmarker, Highland Hillsmarker, and Warrensville Heightsmarker. Shaker Heights is a member of the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium.


There are nine neighborhoods in Shaker Heights, all of which were named after the nine original elementary schools. These neighborhoods are:

  • Boulevard, located in northwest Shaker Heights, is near Cleveland's University Circle neighborhood, and borders Shaker Squaremarker.
  • Fernway is located in the middle of Shaker Heights, north of the Van Aken Rapid line, and south of Shaker Country Club.
  • Lomond is located in the south-central part of the city.
  • Ludlow is the smallest neighborhood and is located in the western portion of the city. Half of the neighborhood lies in Shaker Heights, while the other half is in Clevelandmarker.
  • Malvern is mostly residential and is the location of Hathaway Brown Schoolmarker. The Hanna Perkins Center, a child development center, is occupies the former Malvern school building.
  • Mercer, located in northeast Shaker Heights, is the largest neighborhood. The area is also home to Shaker Heights Middle Schoolmarker (previously Byron Junior High School), and the private schools University Schoolmarker and Laurel Schoolmarker.
  • Moreland is located in southwest Shaker Heights. The former Moreland school building now houses the Shaker Heights Public Library Main Branch.
  • Onaway is home to Shaker Heights High Schoolmarker, and the former Woodbury Junior High School Building.
  • Sussex is located in southeast part of the city.


Historical populations


1911 200 -
1920 1,600 700%
1930 17,783 1011%
1940 23,393 31.5%
1950 28,222 20.6%
1960 36,460 29.2%
1970 36,606 0.4%
1980 32,487 -11.3%
1990 30,831 -5.1%
2000 29,405 -4.6%
As of the census of 2000, there were 29,405 people, 12,220 households, and 8,040 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,685.0 people per square mile (1,807.9/km²). There were 12,982 housing units at an average density of 2,068.4/sq mi (798.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.94% White, 34.11% African American, 0.06% Native American, 3.16% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.50% from other races, and 2.22% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.15% of the population.

There were 12,220 households out of which 32.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.1% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.2% were non-families. 30.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 83.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $63,983, and the median income for a family was $85,893. Males had a median income of $61,768 versus $38,606 for females. The per capita income for the city was $41,354. About 5.3% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.1% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over. According to a 2007 estimate, the median income for a household in the city had risen to $68,793, and the median income for a family had risen to $93,380. About 6.1% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line.


Shaker Heights was incorporated as a village in 1912. The name "Shaker Heights" has origins in two local sources. The community was laid out on land formerly owned by the North Union Community of the United Society of Believers, more commonly known as Shakers. "Heights" refers to the plateau east of Cleveland that rises sharply in elevation from 582 feet above sea level at the base of the Cedar Glen Parkway rising to 950 feet above sea level in nearby Cleveland Heightsmarker; Shaker Heights' elevation is 1050 feet above sea level.

Ralph Russell established the North Union Settlement in 1822 with just over 80 individuals. In 1826, the group dammed Doan Brook, thus creating the Lower Lake and establishing a gristmill and a sawmill. Later, in 1854, the community built a second dam creating the Upper Lake, and constructed another mill. Also called 'The Valley of God's Pleasure', the colony peaked around 1850 with about 300 settlers. As the Shakers practiced celibacy, the colony faded away and was closed in 1889. In 1905, the land was bought by brothers M.J. and O.P. Van Sweringen who envisioned the first garden styled suburb in Ohio for the site. The brothers constructed homes, set aside land for church and schools, and planted trees. Originally referred to as Shaker Village, the community was incorporated in 1912 and reached city status in the 1930s. Shaker Heights is known for its stringent building codes and zoning laws, which have helped to maintain the community's housing stock and identity throughout the years. Approximately seventy percent of the city of Shaker Heights is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Shaker Village Historic Districtmarker.

The Van Sweringens acquired the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (Nickel Plate Road) in order to secure the right of way needed to establish a rapid transit interurban streetcar system that would carry residents of Shaker Heights to and from downtown Cleveland. The resulting system was known as the Shaker Heights Rapid Transit. The Rapid Transit system was transferred into the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) in the 1970s, which combined the operation of all bus systems in the county with the operation of the Shaker and Cleveland Transit System west side rapid lines. Shaker Heights and Greater Cleveland refer to the system and to the trains as "The Rapid Transit", "Rapid" or "Shaker Rapid". While originally envisioned to extend from downtown Cleveland fourteen miles to the community of Hunting Valleymarker (then called Shaker Estates), the system expansion ended at Green Road in eastern Shaker Heights following the collapse of the Van Sweringen rail empire during the Great Depression.

Efforts toward integration began in the late 1950s with neighbors in the Ludlow Elementary School area working together to make integration successful. As a result, Shaker Heights avoided many of the problems created from practices such as blockbusting and white flight. In 1986, the city began a Fund for the Future of Shaker Heights, offering loans for down payments for residents buying homes in segregated neighborhoods, creating multi-ethnic neighborhoods. Today, the city maintains a housing assistance office that works with home buyers to achieve and maintain neighborhood integration. In August 2004, the story of early integration efforts in Shaker Heights was subject of The Reunion, an ABC News special produced by Paul Mason. Mason, now a senior vice president of ABC News, was a student at Ludlow Elementary School when residents, including his parents, moved forward with their efforts to make neighborhood integration a community project.

Shaker Heights was a finalist for the All-America City Award in 1989.

Government and politics

The Shaker Heights City Hall
The Shaker Heights City Charter was adopted in 1931 and revised in 1974, 1986 and 1999. This charter provides for a mayor and seven members of a city council, elected on an at-large, non-partisan basis for four years. The current mayor of Shaker Heights is Earl Leiken. The last mayoral and council elections being in 2007, the mayor and four council members selected in one election and three council members at the following, in a way to stagger terms.

The Neo-Georgian city hall, designed by Charles Schneider, was built in 1930.

Shaker Heights is entirely within the Eleventh Congressional District, a seat in the House of Representatives currently held by Marcia Fudge.


Publicly, Shaker Heights is served by the Shaker Heights City School District, a K-12 district with an enrollment of about 5,600 With eight total schools, there are five lower elementary schools, Fernway, Mercer, Boulevard, Lomond and Onaway, an upper elementary school, Woodbury Elementary School, Shaker Heights Middle Schoolmarker, and Shaker Heights High Schoolmarker. The district estimates that roughly 90% of Shaker graduates attend college, and has been recognized for its efforts to increase neighborhood integration. In the 1950s, the public school system was rated in the top ten nationally. In recent years, however, the school district is no longer top rated. According to the 2007-2008 State of Ohio Report Card, Shaker scored 97.1 out of a possible 120. The district is listed as "Effective," the third tier on a 6 tier scale. On the other hand, since 1995, 9-17% of seniors at Shaker Heights High Schoolmarker have been recipients of National Merit Scholarship awards, and in 2008, the high school had twice as many National Merit Scholarship winners than any other public school in the state.

Private schools in the city include Laurel Schoolmarker, Hathaway Brown Schoolmarker, and the lower campus of University Schoolmarker. There is also a parochial school in Shaker, St. Dominic School.

John Carroll Universitymarker is partially located in Shaker Heights, with the university owning several residential and commercial properties in the city. Additionally, Shaker Heights is near in proximity to University Circle, which is home to Case Western Reserve Universitymarker, The Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.


Shaker Heights is the city of license for CBS affiliate WOIOmarker, channel 19, which has its studios and offices in Cleveland.Shaker Heights news appears in the Cleveland daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer. The Sun Press, a weekly, provides local coverage of Shaker Heights and neighboring Beachwoodmarker, Cleveland Heightsmarker, and University Heightsmarker.

See also


  1. NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data. National Weather Service. Retrieved on 2006-04-05.
  2. Norris, Michele. 'The Reunion:' The Integration of Shaker Heights, All Things Considered, 2004-08-18.

Further reading

External links

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