Mt. Washington was originally located in Anderson Township, the only portion of Hamilton County in the Virginia Military District (VMD). The VMD was bounty land granted by Commonwealth of Virginia to soldiers in payment for service in the Revolutionary War and the Indian Wars. Settlers first came to the Mt. Washington area to farm in the 1790s. At least one house survives from the settlement era; the Stephen Sutton House at 1712 Longbourne, an original log cabin built in 1795.
The Village of Mt. Washington was founded in 1846 by families who had formerly lived at Garrard's Station, a fort near the Little Miami River that was abandoned after the threat of Indian attacks diminished. At that time, Mt. Washington was a part of Anderson Township and was an agricultural village with businesses and institutions that served farming families. In addition to houses, it included churches, schools, groceries, blacksmith shops and a vegetable cannery that processed local produce. The neighborhood remained rural for a long period of time and many buildings constructed between the 1840s and the Civil War have survived.
The construction of interurban and electric rail lines in the late 1800s fostered a substantial amount of development in Mt. Washington. By 1900, the area had approximately 800 residents. Soon the rapidly growing town found its public services inadequate. In 1911 it was annexed by the City of Cincinnati. Annexation brought improved city services and development. However, the Great Depression of the 1930s brought a halt to much of the residential and commercial building. Construction of public facilities was largely limited to those with plans in place before the economic downturn—such as Mt. Washington Public School, built in 1933. In 1939, the Mt. Washington Water Tower was constructed. Because of its location and stature, it quickly became one of the most notable civic infrastructure improvements and still serves as a symbol of the community.
By 1940, there were over three thousand people living in the Mt. Washington area. As late as 1943, it was said that Mt. Washington "still retains much of its village character, and is almost entirely separated from the rest of the city by several miles of countryside. However, modern shops and filling stations are springing up along its main thoroughfare, and neat new homes, with fresh-smelling gardens, already rim the suburb, " (WPA Guide to Cincinnati, 1941).
The Stanbery family lived on a large tract of land on the west side of the neighborhood. In 1940 the Stanbery family donated their estate to the City of Cincinnati for use as a park. Like many other City parks, Stanbery benefited from the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a federal public works program that provided jobs for unemployed youth during the Great Depression. The humble but well-designed comfort station was built in 1940 in the Rustic/Tudor style.
After World War II, Mt. Washington experienced a boom in residential development. Most of Mt. Washington's subdivisions were developed after World War II. The City of Cincinnati continued to annex land to Mt. Washington until 1967. While much of the land in the community has been developed, a few open sites remain.