Although first settled in 1826 by British farmers from the Isle of Mann, the area now known as Mt. Pleasant remained predominantly rural until after 1900 when it was subdivided to accommodate European immigrants moving east from the densely developed neighborhoods near Downtown Cleveland. During the mid-1920’s, Kinsman Road became the institutional and commercial center of a growing Jewish Community, and East Boulevard (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.) became the site of many stately homes, most of which remain today.
Between 1920 and 1930, the neighborhood’s population tripled, rising from 14,000 to 42,000. Unlike other eastside Cleveland neighborhoods that underwent racial change in the 1960’s and 1970’s, Mt. Pleasant has been home to significant numbers of African-American residents since the turn of the century. It is reported that, in 1893, a contractor unable to pay cash wages compensated his African-American employees with vacant lots in a subdivision near Kinsman Road between East 126th and East 130th Streets. By 1907, approximately one hundred African-American families had settled in Mt. Pleasant. By 1970, over 95% of the neighborhood’s residents were African-American.
Through the years Mt. Pleasant has remained a working class community with families who tend to live in their homes for generations. It is a well-established African-American community with a long history of community organizations, faith-based institutions, local businesses, and human service agencies.
Mt. Pleasant is the most residentially developed neighborhood in the City of Cleveland with almost 64% of its land use devoted to housing. (The average for Cleveland is 34%.) Until recent years, population loss and an exodus of middle-income families had led to property deterioration and business vacancies, particularly along Kinsman Road and Union Avenue.
Today, although deterioration persists, middle-class and high-income families are moving back into Mt. Pleasant thanks to the development of a new shopping plaza at East 143rd and Kinsman, and East 110th and Kinsman, the presence of many well-maintained homes, and the construction of market-rate single-family houses in the Kingsbury Run and Reservoir Place area.
Additional information about the Mt. Pleasant Community, including maps, census data and the above-quoted history, is online at Cleveland State's Neighborhood Link for Mt. Pleasant. A useful overview of demographic, social and economic characteristics of the Mt. Pleasant Community can be found at Case Western Reserve University's Center On Urban Poverty and Social Change in its Mt. Pleasant Village Profile .