Superior Schoolhouse

Today, the Superior Schoolhouse is a property of the City of Cleveland Heights that serves as a repository for archival collections and a venue for educational programs relating to the city's history.

However, the story of the schoolhouse goes back much further than that of Cleveland Heights. In 1859, a portion of the land in present-day Cleveland Heights fell within the boundaries of the rural township of East Cleveland. That year, East Cleveland's Board of Education purchased 0.84 acres from the Clark family for $72 for the purpose of building a school. East Cleveland District 9 School, a one-story brick building, opened soon after. Some have suggested that, in 1882, this structure was demolished and replaced with a new schoolhouse constructed of sandstone from a local quarry. Others surmise that the original brick schoolhouse was merely faced with sandstone, and that the structure standing today is indeed the original school, built around 1859.

The area surrounding the Superior Schoolhouse grew more populous in the second half of the 19th-century. As Cleveland became an industrial metropolis in the decades after the Civil War, the city's wealthier residents began moving away from its smoky, crowded center. Neighborhoods east and west of downtown grew, as did the areas that would later become Cleveland's suburbs. In Cleveland Heights, farmland began giving way to planned residential developments by the 1890s. The extension of streetcar lines up into the Heights around the same time spurred this process along.

In 1901, Cleveland Heights was designated a hamlet, and its newly formed Board of Education took control of the East Cleveland District 9 Schoolhouse. Thus the building became Cleveland Heights's first place of education. Cleveland Heights incorporated as a village in 1903, at which point it had a population of around 1,500. As it continued to grow, the city built more and larger schools and the Superior Schoolhouse soon became obsolete. Regular classes were last held there in 1924. The Board of Education then used the schoolhouse as its headquarters for a few years. The building sat unused for much of the 1930s and 1940s. It was used to hold classes for special needs students from 1947 until 1964.

The school became the first Cleveland Heights Landmark in 1974 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. In 1997, Cleveland Heights voters passed a bond issue that provided funding for the building's renovation and rehabilitation, preserving the original look of the historic schoolhouse while creating a practical space for the Cleveland Heights Historical Society and a pleasant point of interest for area residents and visitors.

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