The Shaker Farm Historic District is an early twentieth-century suburban residential development of approximately 266 acres, first laid out in 1904. The District occupies the northern section of 1,393 acres owned by the North Union Shaker Colony between 1822 and 1892 and predates the development of today’s Shaker Heights.
Like many other Cleveland Heights neighborhoods, the development followed the romantic suburban design prevalent at that time, favoring winding streets over more traditionally designed gridded streets and targeted the Cleveland elite’s desire to get away from the industrialized city center. The area was very rural and real estate advertising promoted “the benefits and delights of living in the country,” including “fresh air, pure water and spacious surroundings” and “the fragrance of nature’s wild flowers.”
All the homes in the district are designed for single-family occupancy and many were constructed with space for live-in servants, including the upper story of carriage houses, rooms above attached garages, servants’ wings, and rooms on third floors. Oftentimes there was a separate staircase for the help.
High quality materials were used, with many homes constructed of brick, stone and stucco and others using clapboard and wood shingles. Unlike many developments of this time, a high percentage of the homes were architect designed, with attention to style, detail and amenities. The District’s houses reflect the eclecticism prevalent in early twentieth-century domestic architecture. Dominant architectural styles are the Colonial Revival, Medieval Revival and Picturesque, though as was common, many are eclectic blends of popular styles.