Browse Interviews

  • Collection: Shaker Heights Centennial
34 total

Doris Vargo Interview, 16 July 2012

Doris Vargo discusses the history of Plymouth Church, its origins in Shaker Heights, and her own personal experiences with the church. This includes the church's community invovlement in Shaker Heights and its progressive beliefs. Vargo also discusses housing in Shaker Heights.

Bob Rawson Interview, 21 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Bob Rawson talks about Shaker Heights as a child and today. His parents were both involved with Shaker Heights, and the city of Cleveland. He talks about his focus on education in the community, reflects on his childhood in Shaker Schools, and discusses what he believes to be current issues in Shaker.

Pat Pogue, 1 August 2012

Pat Pogue is an active member of the Shaker community. She was in charge of the Welcome Wagon for 37 years in Shaker Heights until 1999 when the national organization did away with their community representatives. Pogue loved welcoming newcomers so much that she began a program called the Welcome Basket where she fulfilled the same duties of the Welcome Wagon, but under a different name. She tells stories of her Welcome Wagon experiences and how the organization is an asset to the Shaker…

Jim Neville Interview, 6 July 2012

Jim Neville has lived in Shaker Heights since 1970 and works for an architectural firm in the city. He talks about the Shaker Heights board of Architectural Review. He, as of 2012, was still serving on the board. He discusses how the board works, the standards they aim to keep in Shaker, and the value of the architecture. He also talks about the challenges of building sympathetic additions, even to his own historic home.

Fran King, 8 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Fran King, a longtime resident of Shaker Heights, describes her experience in the Ludlow community. Moving from Boston to Cleveland with her husband and her children, Mrs. King remembers the early days of the Ludlow Community Association. Becoming more active in civil rights, she details Ludlow's fight against white flight, and the attraction of Shaker schools for surrounding communities. Throughout her memories, the Van Sweringens are mentioned often. Mrs. King, also the…

Jennifer Mearns Interview, 14 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Jennifer Mearns talks about her role as a member of the school board in Shaker Heights. She explains some of the programs offered in the school, and the advantages of living in Shaker Heights.

Shelley Stokes Hammond, 6 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Shelley Stokes-Hammond speaks about growing up in the city of Cleveland and then transitioning to the ever growing diverse community of Ludlow. She speaks about her lack of knowledge of racial aggression as a child, and the peaceful community she was raised in. She briefly discusses the attitude and tensions in the early days of the Ludlow integration, and the African-American response to the integrated housing plan put forth by the Ludlow Community Organization. The Van…

Charlene Higgenbotham Interview, 27 June 2012

Charlene Higgenbotham, a Shaker Heights resident, recounts her childhood and the formative influence her parents had on she and her sister. Higgenbotham had a lot of jobs over the years and moved around. She was also active in her daughter, Joy's, education and is happy with her success. Higgenbotham is happy to live in Shaker Heights because it is integrated and multicultural and is also active in the United Church of Christ. In the interview Higgenbotham also talks about how she was not very…

Geoff Mearns Interview, 14 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Geoff Mearns talks about growing up in Shaker and moving back. He spent his high school years in Shaker Heights in the 1970s, and then moved back to raise his kids there. His mother was on city council and then became the first woman to be mayor in Shaker Heights. He talks a little bit about her, as well as his father's involvement in desegregation in Cleveland Schools. Mearns also discusses changes taking place in Shaker today, especially the widening socioeconomic gap…

Barbara Gray Interview, 28 June 2012

Barbara Grey, a Shaker Heights resident, served as the president of the Shaker Heights School Board for eight years. She oversaw school closings and integration. All five of Grey's childten went to the Shaker public schools and now she has two grandkids in the schools. She is impressed by the vibrant arts programs at the schools and the active school community. She says Shaker Heights is a civic minded city and residents are always involved in the commnity whether it be the schools, the…

Judy Rawson Interview, 21 June 2012

Former Shaker Heights Planning Commission member, City Council Member and Mayor, Judy Rawson talks about redevelopment in Shaker Heights. She discusses the problems faced, the achievements, and the issues that still linger. She explains how the community gets involved with politics and what kind of impact that has on the outcome of public policy. She talks briefly about her work in reorganzing county government after her terms as mayor in Shaker Heights ended in 2007.

James Toman Interview, 19 July 2012

James Toman is a photographer and author who has written two books on the Shaker Rapid system. An authority on the subject, Toman continues to give talks and present slide shows on the Shaker line and owns a vast personal collection of around 2000 photographs that he has taken of the trains since the 1970s. In this interview Toman relates the history of the Shaker Rapid from its origins as a capital venture on the part of the Van Sweringen brothers all the way up to the present, relating stories…

Robb Forward, 22 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Robb Forward of Shaker's Brown-Forward Funeral Home, describes his life living in Shaker and the experiences he went through elsewhere. Beginning with his life as a child, he tells stories of Shaker's conservatism in the 1950s and early 1960s, and the role of religion in different ethnic groups. As the turbulent '60s plowed through everyday life, he describes the racial tension and then the anti-war tension, being a Vietnam veteran. Mr. Forward then provides a brief…

Betty Meyers Interview, 30 July 2012

Betty Meyers is a member of the Baptist Church in Shaker Heights. In this interview she relates the history of the church, the interactions that the leaders had with the Van Sweringen brothers along with detailing some of the architectural aspects of the edifice.

David and Francis Namkoong, 13 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, David and Frances Namkoong describe their journey from Cincinnati to Cleveland in the early 1960s. Encountering anti-Asian discrimination, they soon moved to the Ludlow community where they became actively involved in the integration movement. As the Civil Rights movement was beginning to stir in the US, the Namkoongs agree, that for Ludlow, the movement was quick and was "thrust" upon them. As the Fair Housing Act approached, the couple began to shift focus to their…

Emilie Barnett, 8 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Emilie Barnett describes her Shaker experience. Wife of Irving Barnett, she began getting involved with the Ludlow Community Association from the very beginning, collaborating with notable Ludlow activists like Drew and Fran King. She describes the neighborhood dinners and meetings that predated the LCA, which eventually became the foundation for the Ludlow integration movement. She tells stories of the many events and fundraisers that occurred in Ludlow and in Shaker as…

William Gruber Interview, 5 May 2012

William Gruber is a life-long resident of the Cleveland area whose family owned the popular restaurant Gruber's. Growing up in Beachwood and Shaker Heights, William eventually settled down with his wife on the edge of Shaker and the city of Cleveland. In this interview Mr. Gruber relates his experiences growing up in Shaker Heights, discussing schools and shopping in detail but also touching upon his relationship with downtown and recreation outlets that were available to him.

Ruth Kymon Interview, 22 June 2012

Ruth Kymon talks about her experience doing the initial survey for the Ludlow neighborhood through Case Western Reserve University. She then talks about her experience in the civil rights movement in Cleveland where she goes to school in a church the day they closed Cleveland public schools.

Hope Murphy Interview, 20 July 2011

This interview is a discussion about the history of Laurel School with Hope Murphy. She gives a chronological overview of the school's history and talks about important changes. There is some discussion about the type of education received at Laurel School and the curriculum. There is also discussion about when the school moved to Shaker Heights and when it had a dormitory. Recent changes include the acquisition of additional land in Geagua County for educational endeavors and sports.

Kathleen Crowther Interview, 8 July 2012

Kathleen Crowther in this 2012 interview talks about coming to Shaker Heights while growing up and then living in Shaker Heights. She remembers coming to Shaker square for special occasions, like Sunday dinner and Christmas. She also discusses Cleveland Restoration Society's restoration project, the Asa Upson house on Chagrin Boulevard. She comments on preservation in Shaker, and why the city has remained so intact. She talks about her own historic house on Fairmount Boulevard as well.

Herb Ascherman, 20 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Herb Ascherman talks about his experience as a longtime Shaker resident. He focuses on Shaker Heights education and the elitist attitude that he thinks was instilled in Shaker Heights students in the 1950s and 1960s. He describes current and past race relations, and the problems Shaker now faces as a community. Later in the interview, Mr. Ascherman tells stories of his childhood and of visits to restaurants in Shaker, Coventry Village, and the ever-growing ethnic…

Thelma Tucker Interview, 26 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Thelma Tucker describes her childhood live experiences that will eventually lead her the Shaker community. Originally raised in New York City, she was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants who valued education at a young age. She describes the racial discrimination she witnessed as a child, and how her Scandinavian background always viewed race as a non-issue. Working in Ghana after marriage, she then attended church before making her way to Shaker in the 1960s. She goes…

Annabelle Weiss Interview, 12 June 2012

Annabelle Weiss is a long-time resident of Shaker Heights, having been drawn to the area primarily because of the reputation of the school district. In this interview Weiss speaks extensively about school and residential integration in Sussex and Ludlow, describing who the people were that led the push to integrate, reactions of the communities both inside and outside the neighborhood, and organizations established to ease the tensions that existed at the time.

Winston Ritchie Interview, 29 June 2012

Winston Ritchie, a Shaker Heights resident, was the Vice Mayor of that city. He describes his childhood experiences and how issues of race affected him as a child. Some of these issues were faced by his children while they were going to school. While Ritchie used race a light-hearted source of humor during his campaign, he takes the integration of Shaker Heights very seriously. It was the most important issue for him during his time in office. He is proud of his efforts in Shaker Heights and of…

Donita Anderson Interview, 16 July 2012

Donita Anderson is the executive director of the North Union Farmers Market in Shaker Heights. A biologist and chef, Anderson discusses her journey in bringing local farm markets to the Cleveland area and expresses her concern regarding environmental issues that may affect local agriculture's near future. Additionally, she shares her historical knowledge of the religious community that established the Shaker area, and emphasizes the contributions of women in the community.

Mary Webb Scibana, 26 June 2012

Mary Webb Scibana talks about her experience moving to Shaker in the late 1960s. She and her husband lived in the Lomond Neighborhood. She relates her experiences in buying the Moses Warren house and its history. Her husband at that time, Tom Webb, was on city council and was influential in getting streets blocked. Mary was assistant to Mayor Stephen Alfred and first female president of the Shaker Heights Historical Society among many other positions she held in the community. She covers race…

Jan Devereaux Interview, 13 July 2012

In this 2012 interview, Jan Devereaux talks about her involvement in Shaker Heights politics. She was on City Council, and explains her involvement in different projects under both Mayor Mearns and Mayor Rawson. She also talks about the Landmarks Commission: how it works and its role in local government. She also talks about the process of getting Shaker Heights on the National Register.

Jeanne Cutillo Interview, 21 June 2012

In this 2012 interview with Jeanne Cutillo, she speaks about her childhood growing up in Shaker Heights, where her father, Albert Pucciani, built many homes there. She speaks about the innocent time of the 1930s through the 1950s, where kids played on their own without fear or danger. She also talks about the many famous residents that lived in Shaker, which once held one of the richest zip codes in the United States. Her family overcame the boundaries of the Van Sweringens, but soon moved away…

Annette Tucker Sutherland, 12 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Annette Sutherland describes her childhood living in Shaker Heights. Being one of the first students to volunteer to integrate Moreland School in Shaker in 1971, she grew up with a very open mind. She tells stories of activities she did as a child, involving Horseshoe Lake, Thornton Park, and Shaker Square, among others. As the current president of the school board, the importance of education, diversity, and tolerance are many recurring themes in her talk. She finishes…

Norma Rogers Interview, 19 July 2012

Norma Rodgers is a "boomerang" resident of the Cleveland area, in that she grew up in the city and moved away before returning to settle with her husband in Shaker Heights. Norma is a graduate of Hiram College and married to a retired psychologist who worked for the Cleveland Clinic. In the interview Norma discusses at length the desirability of living in Shaker, particularly its close proximity to the city's cultural areas which were vitally important to her and her family.

David Hartt Interview, 2012

David Hartt, a Shaker Heights resident, was an urban planning consultant and served on the city's planning commission and was the commercial areas coordinator. He talks about some of the advantages of living in Shaker. He describes various urban development projects in the ciy of Shaker Heights. He discusses changes in the philospohy of urban planning over the last few decades. Hartt also describes Shaker's struggles in attracting businesses to the city.

Myra White Interview, 27 June 2012

In this 2012 interview, Myra White talks about moving into the Ludlow neighborhood of Shaker Heights specifically because it was integrated. She became involved in housing integration in Shaker Heights, worked for the city, and eventually became a realtor. White talks about housing in Shaker from the sixties to present day. She talks about the difference between neighborhoods, the challenges within each, and various successes.

George Cannon Interview, 26 July 2012

George Cannon is originally from Indiana and moved to Shaker later in life after marrying his wife who resided there. An educator and principal for a number of years within the Shaker school system, Cannon describes working within the for the schools along with describing the home that he lived in which was constructed by Jacob Strong in 1842.