Shaker Historical Society

We inspire people to engage in and celebrate the Shaker Heights story and its impact on the region… past, present, and future.


The Van Sweringen Legacy: Shaker Heights, The Rapid & Terminal Tower tells the story of the city of Shaker Heights’ development and the life story of Oris Paxton and Mantis James Van Sweringen. 

Industrious and enterprising, these young men, who with only an 8th grade education, rose to fame and power in the early 1900s in Cleveland.  This exhibit explores their humble beginnings and the iconic Cleveland landmarks that resulted from their visionary leadership.

Featured in the Van Sweringen Gallery is a one-of-a-kind photographic album that shows the building of the Terminal Tower in the late 1920s.  Included in the album is an original photograph by the world-renown photographer Margaret Bourke-White.  The first woman photographer to be employed by Life magazine, she began her career in photography in Cleveland and attended Western Reserve University.  In 1927she gained national attention with her photographs of the Otis Steel mill plant in the Flats. 

The Van Sweringen Legacy

     Shaker Heights, The Rapid & Terminal Tower