Some Shaker Heights residents were, at first, dismayed that they had to move here. Others couldn't wait.
As Shaker Heights celebrates its 100 years as a community, its residents now say they have the same feeling: They couldn't be happier.
Judith Stenta's first reaction was less than ecstatic when learned she had to move to Cleveland in 1974.
“I don't want to die in Cleveland,” Stenta remembers thinking. “What's there?”
She had no choice. Her husband, who worked for Xerox, had been transferred to Northeast Ohio. But after the couple stumbled upon the Shaker Heights home they would nestle into -- the same house they live in today -- Stenta's opinion immediately changed.
“We could walk to the library, we were on the same block as the elementary school, we could walk to Thornton Park,” Stenta says. Shaker Heights "had a lot of wonderful amenities.”
Stenta grew to love the city so much that when her husband got the news two years later that he was going to be transferred again, the couple decided they weren't going anywhere. A place Stenta once couldn't bear the thought of moving to had become a place she and her husband never wanted to leave.
Mary Mulligan, on the other hand, had no qualms about moving to Shaker Heights.
As a child growing up in a small town in Missouri in the 1960s, she had first heard about Shaker because of its voluntary school busing during the height of that era's civil rights movement.
She remembers being deeply affected, though at the time she had no idea she would one day call that community her home.
“I was impressed with Shaker Heights and the community that would do something out of the goodness of their hearts, out of their own morality as opposed to being forced to do it,” Mulligan says of the voluntary busing.
When Mulligan and her husband first arrived in Ohio, they settled in University Heights. When it came time for a permanent move, they narrowed their choices to Chagrin Falls and Shaker Heights.
Mulligan said that moving to Chagrin Falls would have been easy, as it replicated the small town where she grew up in Missouri.
“But it was the energy in Shaker Heights that attracted us and attracted me,” Mulligan said. She has now lived in Shaker for 28 years.
Stenta and Mulligan were once outsiders looking in, each with varying opinions of Cleveland and Shaker Heights. After having lived in Shaker for over a quarter of a century, both of their opinions are now the same. They wouldn't want to be anywhere else.