Unlike most of Chicago, Morgan Park, with its "small parks, roundabouts and curving nonlinear streets," was designed in the manner of an English country town. It wasn't until the 1870s that the area started seeing major development. The Blue Island Land and Building Company donated land and helped finance buildings for Mt. Vernon Military Academy (the predecessor of Morgan Park Academy), Morgan Park Baptist Church, the Chicago Female College, and the Baptist Theological Union. Development continued at a steady pace through the 1880s, but "despite these clear signs of growth, Morgan Park lost its bid to become the home of the University of Chicago, which settled in Hyde Park."
After a few years of battling over annexation, an issue that "sharply divided the community," the Morgan Park finally became part of Chicago in 1914. The community's women, who, "at a time when they were denied the franchise in national elections," were a major factor in this decision to join the city, voting "overwhelmingly in favor of annexation because it meant better police and fire protection as well as a new high school."