A Second University Circle

In January 1925, the Van Sweringen Company conveyed 113 acres of land to the University Realty Company. The land conveyed was located in in the villages of Shaker Heights and Idlewood--in the vicinity of the intersection of Fairmount Boulevard and Warrensville Center Road. This transfer of land completed a complex real estate deal that created the Fairmount Circle neighborhood. The Van Sweringens believed that this new neighborhood would one day become the Cleveland area's second "University Circle."

The official plat of the Fairmount Circle neighborhood, prepared by Harry Gallimore of the F.A. Pease Engineering Company, featured a prominent traffic circle at the intersection of four roads--Fairmount Boulevard, Warrensville Center Road, North Park Boulevard, and Meadowbrook Boulevard. The traffic circle was designed to have a 900 foot circumference. It was to provide, according to a January 18, 1925 article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, "eight imposing corner sites" for "artistic buildings."

Fairmount Circle arguably never evolved into the second University Circle that the Van Sweringens believed it would. However, its development did induce several excellent educational institutions to relocate to the Circle neighborhood during the period 1925-1927.

In 1925, John Carroll University (formerly St. Ignatius College) moved from West 30th Street on the near west side of Cleveland to the northeast quadrant of Fairmount Circle located in Idlewood Village. The Village subsequently changed its name to "University Heights" in honor of John Carroll University's new campus. In addition to John Carroll, two old and well-established Cleveland private academies moved to sites on other quadrants of Fairmount Circle that were located in the City of Shaker Heights.

University School, one of the two prestigious academies that moved to Shaker Heights, was founded in 1876 and had been located on Hough Avenue in Cleveland for 50 years. In 1926, University School moved to a new site on a southeast quadrant of Fairmount circle. One year later, in 1927, Hathaway Brown moved to a location on a southwest quadrant of the circle. Hathaway Brown, like University School, was founded in 1876. Before moving to its new Shaker Heights campus, it had been located in Cleveland on East 97th Street near Euclid Avenue.

Today, nearly 90 years later, these three educational institutions still call Fairmount Circle their home. Fairmount Circle remains a pleasant residential neighborhood on the north side of Shaker Heights.

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