In 1840, the west side of Cleveland belonged to the separate municipality of Ohio City. Two prominent businessmen and former mayors of Ohio City donated land at Lorain Avenue and Pearl Street (later West 25th Street) to the city for the express purpose of establishing an open-air market. The Pearl Market - located across the street from the current site of the West Side Market - went on to serve shoppers for nearly 75 years.
Cleveland annexed Ohio City in the 1850s, and both areas grew quickly in the following decades. Eventually, the Pearl Market outgrew the wood-framed building which had housed it since 1868. In 1902, the city purchased land across the street from Pearl Market and later commissioned the Cleveland firm of Hubbell & Benes to design a new market. The result was a grand, yellow-brick building with room for 100 indoor stalls and 85 outdoor produce stalls. The new market opened in 1912 and has delighted Clevelanders ever since.