The historic center of Detroit, Campus Martius was laid out as the center of the city following the fire of 1805 that destroyed many of the first buildings in the area. Campus Maritus translates to "military ground"- a reference to this area's original use as training ground for the militia in the late 1700s. Until 1847, when the city government voted to fill in the once-marshy area in a major engineering project, the ground around Campus Maritus was of little commercial value.
The area's fortunes have mirrored the fortune of the city, rising in value through the boom years of postwar Detroit and waning in value as residents abandoned the downtown area in the late 20th century. With an ambitious urban redevelopment plan that included millions in public and private investment throughout the downtown area, the city announced that plans to redevelop this two-square-block area into one f the finest public parks in the world. The new Campus Maritus Park was completed in 2004. In addition to weekly festivals and daily events throughout the park, the corner of Monroe and Woodward Ave still serves as the "Point of Origin" for the city, as each of the city;s major streets have their origin at this central plaza.