At the time of its incorporation in 1870, the Village of Glenville was a semi-rural area known as the "garden spot of Cuyahoga County" because of its numerous vegetable farms. The community's scenic qualities and lakeshore sites also attracted many of the region's wealthiest residents. Nationally, Glenville was known as a center of horse racing and, later, auto racing. The track was built in 1870 at the Northern Ohio Fairgrounds and operated until 1908, when it was moved North Randall. The Village of Glenville was annexed to Cleveland in 1905.

Residential and commercial development in Glenville was most intense during the period between 1900 and 1930. East 105th Street emerged as the center of business activity, and its many fine stores earned it the title of Cleveland's "gold coast". The street also became a prime address for religious institutions. Among the largest and most architecturally-distinguished buildings on East 105th Street today are those of the Cory United Methodist Church (home of the Park Synagogue congregation between 1922 and 1947) and the Abyssinia Baptist Church (also built as a synagogue in 1920).

By the 1970's, Glenville's fortunes had taken a turn for the worse. Population loss and declining household incomes, together with the nationally-reported racial rioting in 1968, resulted in widespread deterioration and business vacancies along East 105th Street and along adjoining segments of St. Clair and Superior Avenues.

In the late 1980's and early 1990's, however, the neighborhood's prospects brightened with development of the East Side Market, Glenville Plaza and the North Park Place housing subdivision--all in the vicinity of East 105th and St. Clair--as well as the Sebe Young, scattered site housing development in the Superior Avenue area.