Shaker Heights is a community of approximately 50,000 located twenty minutes east of downtown Cleveland. Shaker is accessible via I-490 or I-271, as well as public transportation. Shaker is serviced by the Red and Blue lines of Cleveland’s rapid transit system (RTA). These lines link to the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland as well as Hopkins International Airport.
Shaker Heights was founded by the Shakers, a religious group known for their physical display of religious zeal. In 1905 the wealthy Van Sweringen brothers began developing the community as an elite enclave. Before most people had cars, the Van Sweringens developed a transit line from the Terminal Tower in downtown Cleveland, which was then a major railroad terminus, to Shaker Square and points farther east. Shaker is home to fine, turn-of-the-century architecture, and features a diverse mix of housing, from two-family houses and apartment buildings to large, opulent mansions.
Shaker’s housing ranges from bungalows to mansions. Seventy percent of Shaker is located in a historic district that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The community has a mixture of housing types and sizes that fosters diversity. Many homes along Shaker Boulevard, South Park and South Woodland are lined with large homes and mansions. Neighborhoods surrounding Chagrin Blvd. and Shaker Square feature smaller homes and apartment buildings. Shaker recently chose to make "green" building a priority, becoming one of a few U.S. communities to revise their building code to support green building.
Shaker Square, one of the nation’s first shopping plazas and a nationally recognized example of early, transit-oriented development, was recently redeveloped as a contemporary shopping area in an historic setting, and features exciting shops and restaurants. Shaker is also home to several smaller shopping areas. Shaker Towne Center, at the intersection of Chagrin and Lee, is a large strip mall that is currently being redeveloped by the City of Shaker Heights. When finished, it will soon feature a more pedestrian-friendly design, and new housing will be built in the surrounding area.
Shaker is home to a regional Nature Center that has been identified as a National Environmental Education Landmark. The Doan Brook, an urban watershed, runs along the border of Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights and is surrounded by green space that draws walkers, joggers, bikers and bird-watchers. The community also has a nationally recognized school system with the most highly educated faculty in Cuyahoga County.