The Cudell neighborhood became part of Cleveland when the City annexed the Village of West Cleveland in 1894 and a portion of Brooklyn Township in 1904. The neighborhood was named after noted architect Frank E. Cudell, a German immigrant who had inherited a large estate from his father-in-law, former lieutenant governor Jacob Mueller. Cudell bequeathed the property to the City in 1916. The tower which stands on the property today, just east of the Cudell Recreation Center, is a memorial to him from his wife, Emma.

Cudell developed as a working class neighborhood in the first two decades of the 20th century. During this period, industry developed along the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern rail line which paralleled Berea Road. By the early 1920's, the development of spurs off the main rail line had allowed industry to expand south of Berea Road, including a large area bounded by West 106th and West 117th Streets, Berea Road and Western Avenue -- land which had formerly been part of the Leonard Case Estate. Many of the industries located there manufactured automobile or paper-related products.

As Cudell's population increased (peaking in 1930 at 18,376), retailers followed. In 1928, Sears, Roebuck and Company built one of its two Cleveland department stores, at 10900 Lorain Avenue. The massive building served the neighborhood until it closed in 1985. Today, the site is occupied by the Westown Square shopping center, constructed in 1987.

Following a period of gradual population decline between 1930 and 1960, Cudell's population fell from 16,466 in 1960 to 11,355 in 1980. Although this population loss mirrored the accelerating rate of loss citywide, much of the loss resulted from the construction of I-90, which removed approximately 450 residential structures in the southern portion of the neighborhood.