TL;DR -- Yes, the long reach of New England, never shortens. The first effort called, even a motivation for, the Victory Garden was in Detroit MI more than a decade before the time of WWI.
The New England Historical Society got this started with an article: A Maine Shoemaker's Potato Patch Plan Feeds the Poor. The timeframe is 1893 which is post the Civil War and during a financial panic. In short, a New Englander, Hazen Stuart Pingree, who went west was in the Civil War and stayed west. He became the Mayor of Detroit, MI. We have mentioned how Dr. Frank's The Massachusetts Magazine had a regular feature on pioneers where Michigan featured as well as Ohio.
So, Pingree gets attention since we have wrote of the Gardner-Pingree house in Salem. Same family? We need to explore that further. Before getting into politics, Hazen worked as a shoe cutter. He was successful enough to have found Pingree and Smith, a shoe company. This is being resurrected under the name Pingree Detroit.
Now to the gist of this post which looks at an event in the 1890s that foresaw the efforts at national gardening during WWI and WWII. This was a well-documented program conceived by Hazen S. Pingree. We will provide a few links to articles and books with some commentary as a way of introducing the subject.
- Report of Agricultural Committee ... Cultivation of land by the poor and unemployed - This report to Hazen is from the committee in charge of the effort. It provides details about the project, including tables of costs and accomplishments. A consultant, Capt Cornelius Gardener is mentioned. He was stationed at a local U.S. Army fort and helped steer the project. We need to find out more about this gentleman (photo of the Capt with Hazen). The writer of the report was Capt John Conline of the Detroit Police.
- Potato Patches - The name caught our eye. This article from Hour Detroit gives a very good overview of the situation and the motivation for Hazen.
- Facts and Opinions - This book by Hazen gives us his view of the times and the need for the project. Pages 161 to 177 provide a report by Capt C Gardener. Not only was the project successful, it got a lot of attention. Many cities duplicated the effort.
03/15/2021 -- This relates to an earlier post: American Dream.
03/24/2021 -- Added the TL;DR.