Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Virtual Tour--Shaker Heights, Ohio

As I've confessed before, one of my favorite time-killing activities is browsing real estate listings. And one of my favorite towns to browse is Shaker Heights, Ohio. I won't go into the town's history too much, those interested can click HERE for a lengthier look at the fascinating story of the place. The town is named, natch, because the land on which it is built was originally owned by the Shakers. A first-ring suburb of Cleveland, Shaker Heights is a tree-lined enclave of about 30,000 residents.

In the early 1900's, members of the Van Sweringen family developed the land that became Shaker Heights. By the 1920's, visitors declared that Shaker Heights was "the finest residential district in the world." Building standards were strict, early guidelines outline appropriate colors, resales had to be approved by neighbors and the developers, and as an unfortunate glimpse at our country's sometimes unpleasant history, deed restrictions (until after WWII) even prevented Blacks, Jews, and Catholics from living there.

The Van Sweringens noted that "The most pleasing is never conspicuous--never flashy." Further restrictions dictated that "only a graduate architect, or one whose qualifications warrant and whose drawings express a thorough, technical knowledge of the highest and best in architecture, together with the ability to combine materials and and prescribe color schemes that will proclaim the result the work of a trained and competent hand." The peak years of development coincided with a flush of historical revival architecture. The result is a town filled with gorgeous Tudor style homes, perfectly exectured Georgians, and charming English architecture.

A Colonial Revival in Shaker Heights

A Georgian Manor

Another Perfectly Executed Georgian

A Typical Tudor-style

Gorgeous entry and double-height bay on another Shaker Heights Tudor

Similar massing to the Tudor above. Beautiful stone door surround.

Restrained detail. Remember, "never conspicuous".

Beautifully detailed chimney and a human-scaled entry on this English cottage style.

(all photos taken from MLS listings)

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