MOUNT PLEASANT is a southeast Cleveland neighborhood and Statistical Planning Area (SPA) bounded roughly by Parkview, Imperial and Abell Aves. on the north; Farringdon, Svec and Glendale Aves. on the south; Martin Luther King Dr. and East Blvd. on the west; and E. 155th St. on the east. Kinsman Rd. is the main thoroughfare running through Mt. Pleasant.
The name Mt. Pleasant derived from its bucolic appearance and dramatic views. Even today, many of the homes—particularly in the neighborhood’s northwest quadrant—are quite large and enjoy lengthy tree-festooned vistas. Mt. Pleasant’s first residents were MANX farmers who migrated there in 1826. The area remained largely rural until 1921, when Joseph Krizek and his partners bought 20 acres southwest of Kinsman, where they mapped out streets and planted 248 maple trees along Bartlett St. Immigrant groups subsequent to the Manx included GERMANS, CZECHS, RUSSIANS, JEWS, and ITALIANS.
Unlike other areas of the city where AFRICAN AMERICANS occupied housing originally owned by whites, Mt. Pleasant counts blacks among its earliest citizens. Reportedly, in 1893 a contractor who employed a large number of black workers was unable to pay wages in cash, so he gave them title to lots in the section north of Kinsman Rd. between E. 126th and E. 130th Sts. The title holders soon built homes there and by 1907 Mt. Pleasant had 100 black families and 100 black lot owners. Advertised in African American newspapers as a suburban paradise, the section was noted for its high percentage of home-owning blacks. To prevent neighborhood deterioration, the Mt. Pleasant Community Council and block clubs in the 1950s fought delinquency, crime, and housing violations. With the aid of CLEVELAND: NOW! and the UNITED APPEAL, the community-services center was relocated, and eventually the Murtis H. Taylor Multiservice Ctr. was built at 13422 Kinsman to provide recreation and centralize social services for residents. Mt. Pleasant NOW Development Corporation, a non-profit community based entity was formed in 1988. Supported by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds and other sources, Mount Pleasant NOW has spearheaded several redevelopment opportunities, including the Mt. Pleasant Neighborhood Family Service Center at 13815 Kinsman Rd., which houses Mount Pleasant NOW offices as well as staff from Cuyahoga Work & Training, Health & Nutrition, Children & Family Services, and the Cuyahoga Support Enforcement Agency.
Mt. Pleasant’s population currently stands at around 17,000 (significantly lower than its 1940 high of 40,559). Virtually all its citizens are African American. Compared to Cleveland as a whole, Mt. Pleasant has an unusually high percentage of people in their teens and early 20s. Average household income lags the city as a whole. The neighborhood’s somewhat more affluent areas tend to be those adjacent or somewhat proximate to the eastern border where Mt. Pleasant meets Shaker Heights.
Updated by Christopher Roy