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Shaker Heights is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city population was 28,448. Shaker Heights is an inner-ring streetcar suburb of Cleveland, abutting the eastern edge of the city's limits. In July 1911, a petition by property owners was successful in detaching a long strip of land from the south of Cleveland Heights, to be named Shaker Village. In November 1911, the voters of Shaker Village formed Shaker Heights Village, which was incorporated in January 1912.
Shaker Heights was a planned community developed by the Van Sweringen brothers, railroad moguls who envisioned the community as a suburban retreat from the industrial inner city of Cleveland.
Shaker Heights is located at 41°28′35″N 81°33′6″W. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.32 square miles (16.37 km2), of which 6.28 square miles (16.27 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) is water.
Shaker Heights is roughly 1,050 feet (320 m) above sea level, and is located about 6 miles (10 km) inland from Lake Erie. 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. Horseshoe Lake and Lower Shaker Lake had been dammed by the Shakers, while developers added Green Lake and Marshall Lake, the latter named after drugstore chain owner W. A. Marshall, at a later point.
Shaker Heights is one of Greater Cleveland's older inner-ring or "first" suburbs, and borders Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, University Heights, Beachwood, Highland Hills, and Warrensville Heights. 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:
Shaker Square is in the city of Cleveland, though, in an agreement between the Shaker Heights and Cleveland schools made in September 1912, is in the Shaker Heights City School District.
As of the 2010 census, there were 28,448 people, 11,840 households, and 7,716 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,529.9 inhabitants per square mile (1,749.0/km2). There were 13,318 housing units at an average density of 2,120.7 per square mile (818.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.0% White, 37.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 4.6% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.
There were 11,840 households of which 34.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.8% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.8% were non-families. 31.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% 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 3.03.
The median age in the city was 40.9 years. 26.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 29% were from 45 to 64; and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.2% male and 54.8% female.
The median income for a household in the city was $76,476, and the median income for a family was $105,660. The per capita income for the city was $47,360. About 5.3% of families and 8.6% 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. The unemployment rate in the city is 5.4%, one of the lowest rates for individual cities included in data provided by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
About 93.5% of residents speak English natively at home, while 1.6% speak Spanish, 1.2% speak French, 0.7% speak Chinese, and 3.0% speak another language, including German, Russian and Arabic.
Educationally, Shaker Heights is well above the national, state, and local averages for residents who have attained a bachelor's, master's, or above a master's degree. As of the 2010 Census, 64.5% of the city's population over the age of 25 had obtained a college degree compared to 28.6% of the same population in Cuyahoga County, 24.1% statewide, and 27.9% nationally.
Shaker Heights was established in 1909, and incorporated as a village in 1912. Shaker Heights is home to the oldest house in Cuyahoga County built in 1817, by Moses Warren. 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 in Christ's Second Appearing, 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 Heights; Shaker Heights' elevation is 1050 feet above sea level.
Ralph Russell established the North Union Shaker Settlement in 1822 with just over 80 individuals. Between 1826 and 1854, the group dammed Doan Brook, which made Upper and Lower Lake, and established three grist and a sawmills. The colony peaked around 1850 with about 300 settlers, 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 churches and schools, and planted trees. Originally referred to as Shaker Village, the community was incorporated in 1912 and reached city status in the 1931.
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-five percent of the city of Shaker Heights is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Shaker Village Historic District.
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 Valley (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.
Shaker Heights was a finalist for the All-America City Award in 1989.
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 David Weiss; he is serving as interim mayor after previous 3-term mayor Earl Leiken resigned to take a position of chief of staff with Armond Budish, County Executive of Cuyahoga County, Ohio. The mayor and council members are elected to four year terms, with half of the elections held in one year and the other half two years later in order to stagger terms.
The Neo-Georgian city hall, designed by Charles Schneider, was built in 1930. Over the years it has hosted 12 Keys to the city ceremonies starting in 1935 to Oris Paxton Van Sweringen and ending in 1993 to Dean Yoder.
Shaker Heights is entirely within the Eleventh Congressional District, a seat in the House of Representatives currently held by Marcia Fudge (D). At the state level, Shaker Heights is located within the Ohio's 25th senatorial district, represented by Kenny Yuko (D) in the Ohio Senate, and in the 8th District of the Ohio House of Representatives, represented by Kent Smith (D).
Publicly, Shaker Heights is served by the Shaker Heights City School District, a K-12 district with an enrollment of about 5,600 students in 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 School; and Shaker Heights High School. 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 School have been recipients of National Merit Scholarship awards, and in 2008, the high school had twice as many National Merit Scholarship winners as any other public school in the state. This can possibly be explained in a 2009 survey of the school, which said that Shaker Heights High School "is really two schools – one school with students in an outstanding Advanced Placement program and one school with students with academic needs."
Private schools in the city include Laurel School, Hathaway Brown School, and the lower campus of University School. There is also a parochial school in Shaker, St. Dominic School.
John Carroll University is partially located in Shaker Heights, with the university owning several residential and commercial properties in the city. Additionally, Shaker Heights is in close proximity to University Circle, which is home to Case Western Reserve University, The Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Shaker Heights is the city of license for CBS affiliate WOIO, channel 19, which has its studios and offices in Cleveland. Shaker Heights news appears in the Cleveland daily newspaper, The Plain Dealer, as well as The Shakerite, the Shaker Heights High School student newspaper. The Sun Press, a weekly, provides local coverage of Shaker Heights and neighboring Beachwood, Cleveland Heights, and University Heights.
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