Neighbors Show Pride In Larchmere, Cleveland's East Side Enclave

A few blocks north of Shaker Square, you'll find a district of quirky shops, fine restaurants and hospitable neighbors.

Stakeholders in the area they call Larchmere — named for its main street — know they're not the trendiest or the most upscale neighborhood in town, but they still trumpet their community's "upbeat vitality" and "offbeat charm."

One of those stakeholder is Harriett Logan. Logan owns Loganberry Books, a floor-to-ceiling-filled, old-school book store. In a time of online stores and e-books, the has endured as a Larchmere staple for 25 years.

Loganberry Books opened its doors in Larchmere in 1994. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

"The funny thing about Larchmere is we always seem to be on the cusp," Logan said. "We are the next best neighborhood to watch, but we've never quite rounded that curve and we've never fallen off that curve into past its prime."

Logan is a Larchmere resident as well as a business owner. She says she chose the neighborhood for her business and her home because of the area's "spunk, independent zest" and dedication to independently owned businesses.

The neighborhood's main drag is Larchmere Avenue. [Gabriel Kramer / ideastream]

Like any urban area, crime is sometimes an issue and there's a lingering perception that the local schools are not as desirable as they used to be. Both can be barriers to new attracting residents, but community stakeholders, including Ward 6 City Councilman Blaine Griffin, insist that they are committed to overcoming those challenges.

"You have good days and bad days, but the thing that you have in this neighborhood is people who persevere," Griffin said. 

As a millennial Cleveland transplant, Peter Zahirsky chose the Larchmere neighborhood over others his peers maybe considered trendier.

"I would say that the identity is real Cleveland," Zahirsky said. "It's got that real Cleveland feel of a hard working neighborhood where people care for each other and look out for each other."

Zahirsky grew up in Steubenville, but grew familiar with the area over years of visiting his Aunt Mary in Larchmere as a kid. 

"There's a sense that you're part of a revitalization of a neighborhood. There's a sense that you're in it with everyone else," Zahirsky said. "I have people that I call friends in this neighborhood who are in their 70s and 80s, but we can still hang out and have a great conversation. It's good when you're engaging with people aren't just like you, who aren't the same age or color as you."

Some Larchmere residents are in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and some sit in the Shaker Heighs City School District. [Google Maps]

The boundaries of Larchmere vary depending on who you ask, but describe it as the area just north of Shaker Square, stretching from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Moreland Boulevard, where Cleveland and Shaker Heights meet. 

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