In May 1906, a group of residents of Warrensville Township, led by Richard L. Palmer, incorporated East View Village, to improve municipal services and give residents greater control over education. The Moreland neighborhood was part of East View Village from 1906 to 1920, when East View “became insolvent and was absorbed by Shaker Village (Scruggs, 2012). In 1920 the boundaries of Moreland were Van Aken Boulevard on the north, Scottsdale Road on the south, Lindholm Road (one block east of Lee Rd) on the east, and Sutton and Menlo Roads on the west. The intersection of Lee Road and Chagrin Boulevard once was called ‘Gillette’s Corners.’ This name came from the Gillette Tavern, which stood at the northeast corner of the intersection. It was built in 1877 and remained there until about 1922.
After the Van Sweringen Company incorporated the Village of Shaker Heights in 1912, East View became increasingly dependent on its wealthier neighbor. Though East View had its own elementary school on Lee Road, residents paid tuition to send their children to Shaker Heights High School. East View Village, unable to afford its own police and fire protection, contracted with Shaker Heights for these services. In 1919 East View had 606 residents, while rapidly growing Shaker Heights had a population of 1,616. That year the City of Cleveland annexed part of East View Village, moving its southern boundary from Harvard Road to Scottsdale Road making annexation by Shaker Heights inevitable (Dawson, 2017). In 1920 East View Villagers voted to dissolve and be incorporated into Shaker Village. Until the 1930s, East View’s legacy lived on in East View School. It previously stood on Lee Road, near Chagrin. That building became a city building, but burned down in the 1930s. The Moreland Elementary School (now the library) opened in 1926.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the population of Moreland had a mix of old Protestant families living along Kinsman and an ethnic population of first and second generation eastern and southern Europeans. A study by the East View Church in 1958 estimated that Moreland Elementary School’s student body was 70 percent Jewish in 1958. When Moreland began to integrate in the early 1960s, Moreland residents met together in small interracial discussion groups, hopeful that they could maintain a stable, integrated neighborhood. As streets quickly changed from white to black, in March 1962 residents voted to form a community association, as had been done in the Ludlow neighborhood, to facilitate managed integration.
By early 1963, the Association adopted a constitution, incorporated as a non-profit organization, and applied for tax-exempt status. The community association played a critical role in the following decades advocating for the needs of the neighborhood, and most notably opposing the controversial Styche and Hisaka’s Master Plan which was typical of urban renewal schemes of the 1960s. Some of the elements of the Plan included:
While they were successful in blocking most aspects of the Styche and Hisaka Master Plan, they were less successful in remaining an integrated neighborhood, and by 1968, the Moreland School population was 90% African American. In the 1970s Moreland School became part of the Shaker Schools Plan of voluntary busing.
The southern Moreland neighborhood was hard hit by the housing and foreclosure crisis post 2005. Between 2006 and 2015, over 42% of the houses had a foreclosure filing. Despite this, the residents have shown remarkable resilience, as evidenced by the strong sense of community and their close working relationship with the City as they try to rebuild the neighborhood. For more on what’s been happening recently in the neighborhood, read about the Moreland Rising initiative. You can review a summary timeline of Moreland’s history here. For more information and images of the neighborhood’s history see here.