MorningSide began as a French settlement of ribbon farms late in the 1700s. Since the only reliable method of travel was by boat or canoe, access to Lake Saint Clair and the Detroit River was a necessity. French settlers established “ribbon farms” which were long narrow strips of land that stretched inland for miles. These narrow farms each provided access to waterways for drinking water, fishing and transportation; and to the land for timber, farming and game. Some of the ribbon farms that would later become part of MorningSide were owned by Alec Trombly, P. Trombly, Robert Trombly, Mrs. L. Brown, Mrs. Turner and G. Martin.
These ribbon farms were collectively part of Grosse Pointe Township, until the end of the 19th century, when Detroit annexed “large portions of the township of Grosse Pointe.” Detroit’s population had grown in response to auto manufacturing. Jobs were plentiful and working wages supported middle-class mobility. Ribbon farms, which had been farmed for decades, now were redeveloped into sub-divisions for housing. The MorningSide neighborhood blossomed in response to Detroit’s middle-class housing needs into a collection of real estate sub-divisions.