Heights Heritage tour returns as HCC marks 50 years
After three years of disruptions, Heights Community Congress (HCC) will again host its Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour in 2022, on Sunday, Sept. 18, from noon to 6 p.m. For more than 40 years HCC has featured 354 homes, along with several historic churches and local city landmarks, welcoming thousands of visitors from all over Northeast Ohio and beyond.
The popular weekend tour was abruptly cancelled in 2019 due to the major microburst storm that tore through parts of Cleveland Heights. That storm knocked out power for days, and damaged hundreds of trees and numerous properties, including three homes and two churches on the tour.
That cancellation was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which put a hold on the tour—and many other events—for two more years. This three-year hiatus was only the second disruption of HCC’s annual event since it launched in 1977 (the first was due to the 2008 recession).
This year’s tour will take place on Sunday only; there will be no Saturday evening preview party. Tour volunteers are busy lining up a diverse collection of properties to feature on the tour, and will release more details as plans are finalized. Depending on any remaining COVID protocols still in place by September, masks may be required inside all tour homes. HCC will also institute staggered starting locations for tour-goers, to help facilitate social distancing across the entire route.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of HCC, a nonprofit that serves Cleveland Heights and surrounding communities by monitoring fair-housing practices, promoting and supporting social justice initiatives, and stimulating public conversation on the values of maintaining strong diverse communities.
HCC formed in 1972, to begin tackling many of the issues detailed in the historic St. Ann’s Audit of Real Estate Practices in Eastern Cuyahoga County.
Those efforts continue today, and have expanded to include the monitoring of other emerging areas of discrimination, including gender identity, sexual orientation, and source-of-income cases. HCC continues to provide discrimination-awareness information and training classes for realtors and landlords operating in the Heights area.
For HCC, the Heritage Home & Garden tour not only showcases Cleveland Heights’ historically unique mix of architecture, it also highlights the rich social and racial diversity of the city’s many neighborhoods.
Tour tickets will go on sale in early August. Those interested in volunteering to help guide people through homes and gardens on this year’s tour are asked to contact the HCC office at 216-371-6775, or visit www.heightscongress.org.
Les Jones, a 45-year resident of Cleveland Heights, is president of HCC's Board of Trustees, and has served on its Heights Heritage Home & Garden Tour planning committee every year since 1990. He is a past president of the boards of both Reaching Heights and the Forest Hill Home Owners Association.