Horseshoe Lake Park
Located just north of South Park Boulevard and just east of Lee Road, Horseshoe Lake is one of two man-made lakes in Shaker Heights. Much like Lower Lake, which we featured in our last issue, it straddles the border of Shaker Heights and Cleveland Heights and its history dates back to the mid-nineteenth century. Horseshoe Lake was created in 1852 when the North Union Shakers dammed Doan Brook for a second time to generate power for a new woolen mill. In 1889 the North Union Shakers disbanded, and in 1895 the 279 acre area which included both lakes and the Upper Doan Brook Valley was donated by the Shaker Heights Land Company to the City of Cleveland for the purpose of establishing a park. Today this area includes both Horseshoe Lake Park and Lower Lake as well as the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. During the Great Depression, members of the Works Progress Administration landscaped the area around Horseshoe Lake and transformed it into the park that we know and love today. More recently, between 2004 and 2007, the City of Shaker Heights made substantial improvements to the park including new playground equipment. Find out more about the history of Horseshoe Lake in this article from Cleveland Historical.
There is so much to see at Horseshoe Lake Park. Take a stroll around the southern side of the park on the paved path that follows South Park Boulevard and then continues across the spillway towards North Park Boulevard, or enjoy a picnic at one of the pavilions located within the park. For children, there's a variety of play equipment inside the park including a swing set, a handful of climbing structures for a variety of ages and a fossil discovery area. Head to the breathtaking stone fireplace and try to find one of the three Explore Shaker tokens that we have hidden within eyesight of this monument.
Horseshoe Lake Park is also a bike friendly area with numerous bike racks and serves as a bookend of the Lake-to-Lakes trail. Start at the Horseshoe Lake Park dam and follow the five mile trail along through Cleveland Heights, University Circle, and Cleveland all the way to Lake Erie and the Cleveland Lakefront Nature Preserve.
Horseshoe Lake has been drained since 2019 as the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, oversees repairs to the earthen dam that had been deemed structurally deficient. You can find out more about the Horseshoe Lake Dam Rehabilitation Project by viewing a recent Mayor's Report or reading this article.