SHAKER SQUARE is an early suburban shopping center in Cleveland built in 1927-29 in conjunction with the development of neighboring SHAKER HTS. Originally laid out as a traffic circle, the intersection of Shaker Blvd. and Moreland Blvd. was also the junction of the 2 branches of the SHAKER RAPID TRANSIT, the Green Rd. and Van Aken lines. Plans for a Tudor-style shopping center were originally conceived in 1923 as part of the
MORELAND COURTS project. When it failed a year later, the VAN SWERINGEN brothers decided to build Shaker Square and engaged
PHILIP SMALL and
CHAS. BACON ROWLEY as architects
(see SMALL & ROWLEY). According to Rowley, the circle was changed to an octagon in order to accommodate automobile parking. The octagonal plan then suggested 18th-century European royal squares as a design source, and central pavilions flanked by lower wings can be seen in each quadrant. The style and detail, however, are American Colonial to conform with the domestic vision and style of the planned suburb of Shaker Hts. The
COLONY THEATRE was added to the square in 1937. The Shake Square stores were planned to appeal to the upper-class clientele of Shaker Hts. and housed a great variety of businesses over the years, from realtors and restaurants to specialty clothing stores and professional offices. In 1976, a nonprofit development group, the Friends of Shaker Square, later named Shaker Square Development Corporation, was formed to promote the preservation of the shopping center's original character; in 1994 membership stood at 1,200. The organization provided a tenant referral, a neighborhood security program, and was active in supporting public improvements on Shaker Square. It also published a neighborhood newspaper, The Connection. In 1976 Shaker Square, the oldest shopping district in Ohio and the second oldest in the nation, was listed in the Natl. Register of Historic Places.