North Collinwood became part of the City of Cleveland when the villages of Collinwood and Nottingham were annexed to the City in 1910 and 1912, respectively. The area was first settled in 1812. Settlement increased with the establishment of numerous vineyards; and, by the 1870's, Collinwood had become the largest shipping point in the nation for grapes.

In the 1870's, Ursuline nuns purchased land on the shores of Lake Erie at the mouth of Euclid Creek and opened Villa Angela, a boarding school and academy. In 1876 they opened a school for boys, St. Joseph's Seminary, at the same location. The two schools merged in 1990. The current combined Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School (E. 185th and Lakeshore) was built after World War II on the site of the Cunningham Sanitarium, an oxygen therapy facility built in 1928.

By the 1890's, rail yards replaced vineyards as the area's principal generator of economic activity. Industrial development accelerated rapidly following construction of the Collinwood Rail Yards, a major switching center for the Lakeshore and Michigan Southern (later the New York Central) Railroad. Residential development expanded. Many Italian immigrants moved south of the tracks while North Collinwood saw a great influx of Slovenian immigrants. Between 1910 and 1930, North Collinwood's population increased from 5,327 to 27,878.

In 1894 Euclid Beach Amusement Park, which was patterned after New York's Coney Island, was opened. Euclid Beach was a popular attraction in the Cleveland area until the 1960's. It closed its doors in 1969. Its prominent gateway arch, a Cleveland landmark, still remains. Parts of Euclid Beach, along with Wildwood Park and portions of the original Villa Angela Site have been incorporated into the Cleveland Lakefront State Park.

After World War II, the rise of freeways and the movement of heavy industry out of the nation's northeast and midwest regions resulted in the abandonment of many rail-oriented industrial properties in Collinwood. Since World War II, there has been a gradual decrease in North Collinwood's population. The biggest lost occurred in the 1950's as houses were acquired for the construction of I-90, which was completed in 1962. In 1990, both incomes and housing values were above the City average.