Development in Ritchie began with the arrival of the Calgary and Edmonton Railroad line in 1891 and the completion of the Edmonton, Yukon, and Pacific Rail line in 1902. Early development radiated out from a commercial area on Whyte (82nd) Avenue, now called Old Strathcona. Subsequent commercial development extended along Whyte Avenue, where a streetcar line joined Ritchie with downtown Edmonton (via 99th Street) from 1908 to 1949.

Ritchie became part of Edmonton when the City of Strathcona amalgamated with Edmonton in 1912. By that time, most of Ritchie had been subdivided using a grid street pattern. While most structures were built prior to 1950, both development and redevelopment, especially in commercial areas, has continued to the present time.

Because of its history and location, Ritchie is an area of mixed land use. It is predominantly residential (63 percent of property area) with a sizeable number of commercial and industrial properties (20 percent of property area). Single-detached homes account for just under 50 percent of all residential units in the neighbourhood, and a mixture of semi-detached dwelling, row housing and low- to medium-rise apartments make up the remainder of the units.

Ritchie residents have good access to downtown Edmonton and the Mill Creek portion of the river valley park system. In addition to the ravine, Ritchie features a series of parks that run along the central spine of the neighbourhood in conjunction with school sites. The eastern portion of Whyte Avenue runs the northern length of the neighbourhood, providing good local commercial access, and many residents are within walking distance of the Old Strathcona Farmers' Market in the adjacent Strathcona neighbourhood.

Ritchie was named for Robert Ritchie, former Mayor of the Town of Strathcona and original owner of the Ritchie Mill, which still stands as an historic site at 102nd Street and Saskatchewan Drive.