Mayor Hazen Pingree launched an elaborate plan to help employ and feed Detroit residents affected by the economic depression of 1893, which was a result of overbuilding and financing of the railroads. In the Report of Agricultural Committee of the cultivation of idle land by the poor and unemployed, John Conline recommended:
“[…] that the city purchase, if practicable, 200 or more acres of land on either side of Woodward avenue, to be used as farms, fenced and provided with inexpensive store houses for tools, seeds, etc. with an intelligent overseer or superintendent for each division.
In short, have the Pingree Detroit Plan so systematically arranged in advance in all its details, that work which is now spread over six weeks, can be concentrated into one week or less time, and the entire issue of lots and seed be confined to a single day.
These farms can, as the city becomes larger, be converted into parks.”