Monroe Street Cemetery is 13.63 acres in area and was designated a Historic Landmark by the City of Cleveland Landmarks Commission in 1973.The number of burials exceeds 31,400 persons. It is believed that burials on the property began as early as 1818 and a headstone dated 1827 can still be seen. There are more than 500 persons in the cemetery who served in the armed forces and saw duty during the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and both World Wars in addition to those who served their country during times of peace. Ethnic heritages from England, Ireland, Belgium, and Germany are predominant but Hungarian, Dutch, Scottish and other backgrounds are found throughout the cemetery. The cemetery contains several persons who were actively involved in abolitionist activities before and during the Civil War, including Rev. James A. Thome and Alfred Greenbrier. Two mayors of Cleveland are buried here - William Bainbridge Castle who served as the last mayor of Ohio City and the first mayor of the combined cities after annexation and Irvine U. Masters who, as president of City Council in 1861, personally welcomed Abraham Lincoln to Cleveland as Lincoln made his way to his inauguration - as well as four mayors of Ohio City - Richard Lord, Needham Standart, John Beverlin and David Griffith. The first Cleveland policeman to be killed in the line of duty, John Michael Kick, is buried here.
Ohio City was originally part of Brooklyn Township, which was founded in 1818 by Richard Lord and his brother-in-law Josiah Barber. Lord's father, Samuel, was an investor in the Connecticut Land Company and his portion of the "Western Reserve" included the area that is today called Ohio City. Historic borders of the city were: Lake Erie on the north; the Cuyahoga River on the east; Walworth Run (Train Avenue) on the south; and Harbor Street (W. 44th St.) on the west. On March 3, 1836, the City of Ohio became an independent, incorporated municipality two days before Cleveland. It remained so until June 5, 1854, when it was annexed to Cleveland. The two cities became fierce competitors, especially in the area of commerce.
Brooklyn Township acquired its cemetery when Barber and Lord sold a six-acre parcel in January 1836 for $160 (Approximately $3,900 today), to be used "forever as a public burying ground." When Ohio City was incorporated the township cemetery became the city cemetery. The Ohio City council established rules and regulations. It also appointed a sexton, and arranged for systematic platting, as well as for the purchase and storage of a hearse. After annexation, the cemetery became simply known as "the west side cemetery" and, later, the Monroe Street Cemetery. Under Cleveland's charge, the cemetery was ornamented with walks and plantings, protected by a patrolman, and fenced to keep out wandering hogs. Until the late 1890s, it was Cleveland's only west side public cemetery.