Originally a part of Warrensville Township, the area which now forms Cleveland's extreme southeast corner existed as the Village of Miles Heights between 1927 and 1932. The Village secured a place in history in 1929 by electing Ohio's first African-American mayor, Arthur R. Johnston.
It was not until the 1940's and 1950's that the Lee-Miles area began to experience intense development. Between 1940 and 1960, the neighborhood's population soared from less than 3,700 to over 20,000. Racial change occured during the 1960's as the neighborhood's non-white population increased from 30% in 1960 to 93% in 1970.
Because of its relatively late development, Lee-Miles is characterized by housing and shopping areas which are among the most contemporary in the City of Cleveland. The 170,000-square foot Lee-Harvard Shopping Center was developed in 1949 and underwent an expansion of an additional 70,000 square feet in the early 1990's. Just to the south, two market-rate townhouse developments were developed during the late 1980's.
The area's largest development site is the 114-acre Cleveland Industrial Park, created by City government in 1981. The site had been vacant since being used by the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority for temporary housing after World War II. The industrial park takes advantage of the neighborhood's proximity to I-480 to the south and its interchanges with Lee Road and Broadway Avenue.
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